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by Patricia Polacco

illustrated by Patricia Polacco



Grades 2-5- During WWII, a young Kentucky soldier stationed in the Philippines helps a little girl and the people of her village to get food and escape an attack. Years later, the girl, now a nurse, helps the veteran with his medical care. A full-page author’s note at the beginning of the book explains that Polacco heard the story from Johnnie Wallen (Tucky Jo) when he was an older man. She puts the narrative in his voice, using a conversational tone and suggesting his accent in the phrasing. Children will need help with some older idioms, but figuring out his meaning helps readers understand the character. This wartime story is serious, and it’s best suited to readers slightly older than the typical picture-book audience. The pencil-and-marker illustrations depict anxiety, fear, and fatigue, but do not show the worst aspects of war and death. Since the book presents Wallen’s view, there are few details from the perspective of Little Heart/Nurse Zaballa. This book would be a good choice for WWII and Veterans Day programs. — Whitehurst, Lucinda (Reviewed 10-15-2015) (Booklist, vol 112, number 4)


  • Notable Books for a Global Society: 2016


2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, Ages 9-12, Friendship, WWII