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Middle Grade Fiction 158
(Updated: May 16, 2022)
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Thirteen-year-old Danny Timmons looks up to Jack Bailey after he saved two children during a storm. But there's more to Jack than meets the eye. The author shows readers a multi-layered character whose secrets hide a truth about his father. Danny finds out that not all battles are won on the battlefield.

What worked: Coming of age story set in WWII in a small Appalachian town and what really defines the meaning of courage. This historical tackles the topics of bravery, discrimination, segregation child abuse, and hatred. Danny questions why hatred can happen to the Jewish people during WWII. He finds though that all it takes is someone to be silent, for terrible things to happen.

Engaging and thought-provoking, I loved how this book addresses hard topics in a way that shows that there are consequences to actions. Danny struggles with making good choices, especially when he's singled out by the town's bully. Then there's Jack who tells Danny of a magical place called Yonder, where rainbow birds fly and there is no talk of war. When Jack goes missing, Danny searches for Yonder and finds much more on his journey.

There are backstory scenes that show what happened before Jack goes missing. Those scenes do help readers understand more the 'whys' behind Jack's own decision. It also reveals secrets about those in town. The big thing though is how Jack discovers what courage really means.

Sure to be a classic, this historical introduces readers to Danny and how important it is to stand up for what is right.
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