This is the 47th book in The American Adventure Series. While these books are excellent when read in order because the characters carry through and age from book to book through generations, a single book could certainly be read in a stand-alone fashion to cover one particular topic or period in American History. Set in Seattle, Washington, in 1943-1944, we are given a glimpse of what life in the U.S. was like during World War II. Families used ration stamps to purchase items such as meat, sugar, and gasoline. Women began working in airplane production factories. There were drives to collect paper, metal, and fat. There was even a suspicious fire in a meat-packing plant. Character lessons included in this book involve keeping competitiveness in check and working together for the good of others.
“War Strikes” is the 46th book in The American Adventure series. This book is set in Seattle, Washington, in 1941-c. 1942. Historical events cover the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Japanese Internment camps, which are not covered with any gruesome detail, but mentioned and discussed as it impacted the lives of children and families living in the time frame. Character issues that are addressed include racism, coping with sadness of saying goodbye to friends, and making sacrifices for those you love.
Although I typically try not to reveal too much of the plot in my reviews, I feel the need to elaborate a bit on how subject matter such as WWII and Japanese Internment Camps can be covered in a tasteful, gentle, yet honest manner. These books are told from the viewpoint of children, usually around middle-school in age, but keep in mind this book was published in 1999 and the historical fiction context excludes much behavior one may expect to read about in a book about middle-school kids now. The children in this book have family friends who are Japanese, they have known this family who runs a hotel for a few years. When Pearl Harbor’s attack was announced, the children began to recognize the racist comments and propaganda against Japanese people, even those that are American citizens.
We hear how their Japanese friends, the Wakamutsu family, are fearful the husband/father will be imprisoned. We learn that the Wakamutsus choose to burn any belongings from their homeland, even old letters from relatives, because they do not want to be considered suspect. Eventually, the entire Wakamutsu family is informed they will be relocated to a camp. The main characters take over the management of the hotel business for their friends, but do write to them and are able to visit them once. The family was staying at muddy fairgrounds with thousands of other Japanese families and individuals. The Wakamutsu family is an example of being honorable, kind, and respectful despite hardships. While a deeper look into the conditions this family may have endured may have revealed it would be extremely challenging, I feel the gentle introduction of the subject is appropriate for my children ages 5-11.
We have thoroughly enjoyed this entire series. I have learned more about American History through these engaging chapter books than I probably did in all of the years I attended elementary school.
The first chapter of this book caught my interest. I was hoping for a refreshing, encouraging read that focused on grace. I'm sorry to report that I did not find this book to be what I was looking for. The upbeat, vibrant, conversational tone of the first chapter faded into a book which made many true statements, but continuously left me feeling as though I disagreed on some deeper level. I found it extremely challenging to pinpoint where and how I disagreed with the author until about a third of the way into the book. The first three chapters of the book were dedicated to expounding on the concept of grace itself, more or less and I enjoyed them. By the end of the book, I had decided I could not recommend this book.
Since this book functions both as a devotional and a coloring book, I'll review both aspects individually.
Let's dig in!
Along with learning more about the Depression than I was ever taught in school, my children learned great lessons on compassion and treating others with dignity and respect regardless of their lot in life. The children in the story meet a displaced teen and while they are reminded of the real dangers of riding the rails and the gathering places of groups of homeless people, a theme of genuine care for others is consistent. When a family is struggling to feed themselves, yet they yearn to help others in worse conditions, what can and should be done? This is one of the questions struggled with through this narrative.
As always, I give warning flags to any content which may be too intense for sensitive readers/listeners. This plot includes a teen retelling how his friend was killed by slipping down under a moving train when they were riding illegally (holding onto the outside of the cars). The description was not gorey, but it did include some suspense and evoked concern and sadness from my children. Since we've previously discussed the hazards of trains, I was able to navigate this section while reading it word-for-word to my kids. You may want to pre-read chapter 8 to decide whether you want to paraphrase or omit portions for a sensitive child.
I highly recommend this series as presenting history in an age-appropriate, engaging context with relevant and challenging moral dilemmas overcome by the characters in every book. They are great read-alouds as they keep both my youngest child and myself interested!
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I am not much of a blog reader. There's only a couple I check on occasion:
Love this girl's writing... feels like she's a long distance friend. Well, her sister is my long-distance friend, so that probably helps. Either way, what an inspiration and encouragement- you just need to check out some of the places life has taken Leah and be strengthened and inspired by the love that oozes (yes, oooozes) from her heart for Jesus, His people and His creation!
If you like nummy recipes, or have special dietary needs (or both!) check it out. ALL of her recipes are Vegan, and many can be made gluten-free. I stumbled upon it when searching for dairy/egg free treats to make for my kiddo and have gotten hooked on several recipes. Okay, "hooked on" doesn't portray it well enough. How about "addicted to"? That's more fitting. Will definitely be going back for more!