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Don't You Know There's a War On?
Synopses & Reviews
Brooklyn, New York, 1943: a time and place so remarkable that a mere five years later, Howie Crispers, wise at sixteen, can look back to record its fleeting intensity, already long behind him in memory.
In 1943, Howie's pop is in the merchant marine, dodging Nazi U-boat wolf packs an the brutal North Atlantic sea. Denny, Howie's best friend, has a father in the Eighth Army, battling Nazi general Rommel in North Africa. Every day the boys face reminders of war — scary headlines, blackouts, scrap collections, warstamp drives.
Saturday mornings, Denny and Howie both leave their worries and responsibilities behind at the 25-cent kid movies. During the week, they depend on Miss Rolanda Gossim, their teacher. She may be strict, but she's kind and a lot prettier than any movie pinup. She occupies the boys' fantasies and makes the war bearable for Class Five-B at Brooklyn's P.S. 8. When Howie discovers she's about to be fired, he needs to find out why, and — with the help of Denny and the rest of their class — he makes plans to keep her on the job.
By turns hilarious, sad, and surprising, Avi's latest tale is a touching story of innocent love and yearning that's rich with authentic Brooklyn voices and poignant memories of the early 1940s — days when unexpected, even shocking events took place without warning, days when, no matter what happened, you could explain it all with a simple phrase: "Don't you know there's a war on?"
Not many things help Howie Crispers forget the war. It's so easy to become preoccupied with his dad fighting the Nazi U-boats, the blackouts, the scrap collections, and all the other reminders of World War II. The 25-cent kid movies help him take his mind off things, though. And his teacher, Miss Gossim. Just the thought of her is enough to put a smile on Howie's face and a spring in his step. But in wartime, security doesn't last too long. Things change in an instant. And Miss Gossim's job is suddenly in jeopardy. Howie can t let the unthinkable happen. With help from his best friend, Denny, and the rest of their class, he works to prove to the superintendent that some good things are worth keeping— especially when there's a war on. Carefully researched, engaging, and poignant, Don't You Know There's a War On? is a testament to Avi's genius as a storyteller. It s not just a story about war— it s about friendship, loss, family, love, and morality.
This surprising historical novel makes its timely paperback debut with a tale of daily life turned upside down by monumental national events. From 25-cent picture shows to Censor-stamped airmail, this World War II adventure is brimming with nostalgia and patriotism. A testament to Avi's genius as a storyteller, Don't You Know There's a War On? is the poignantly humorous story of a young boy's attempt to be a home-front hero.
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