Courageous

 
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Courageous
Age Range
8+
Release Date
November 27, 2018
ISBN
978-1338226850
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Aiden is the son of a fisherman on the south coast of England, and he's feared the ocean since his oldest brother's ship was sunk by a German U-boat.

But that doesn't matter when he and his best friend Sally hear chatter on their radio. Allied troops, including Aiden's surviving brother, are trapped in France, surrounded by German forces. The British military have come up with a daring plan to save as many troops as possible, bringing them across the Channel to safety -- but they'll need every boat they can get their hands on.

Aiden's parents forbid him from going, but he and Sally know they can help, and set off to join Operation Dynamo on their own. It's a harrowing journey, and the pair are in grave danger as they help ferry troops from Dunkirk, searching for Aiden's brother all the while. It will take an entire village for them to realize that as long as people are willing to help those who need it, there's hope for a brighter tomorrow.

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The Battle of Dunkirk

Aidan lives in a fishing village in England. His one brother has died in the war, but George is still off fighting. His parents are grieving Trevor's death and are weary of the war. Aidan and his friend Sally have fixed a broken radio and have been hearing transmissions about upcoming events, and when they find out about the all-call for help at Dunkirk, they make their plans. Aidan's father, quite rightly, doesn't want to risk the family boat in this endeavor, and forbids Aidan from going, even locking him in his bedroom. With Sally's help, he escapes, and the two take off for the action. They are able to help quite a few soldiers get to safety, and even help George, but since Sally has eaten for a while, she becomes faint and is handed off to the care of a family helping as well. The Battle of Dunkirk was a very serious one, and while local fisherman were influential in turning the tide, it was extremely dangerous, and several of our main characters are injured.

Good Points
While there are many, many fiction books that cover fighting during World War II, I can only think of John Tunis' Silence over Dunkerque that covers this battle, and that book was published in 1962! The appeal of this particular battle is that the majority of combatants were fishermen and regular folk from along the coast who saw what was going on and hoped that their attempts could stop it.

Having a middle grade character want to be part of this is a great idea. If parents say no, what child doesn't want to do something? I'm not sure what the actual number of children involved in the battle was, but it is an intriguing premise.

Courageous is a quick pick for reluctant readers who need to have a book about World War II for a project, but are not really interested in the topic, but also for avid fans of this military conflict who have not read enough about Dunkirk. It has very nice notes and glossary at the back, and is told in simple, direct language. The cover is appealing and the story action packed. Hand this to readers of Sherman's military series, Spadlin's Prisoner of War, Gratz's Grenade, or the work of Dean Hughes.
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