Synopses & Reviews
Shooting at the Stars
is the moving story of a young British soldier on the front lines during World War I who experiences an unforgettable Christmas Eve. In a letter home to his mother, he describes how, despite fierce fighting earlier from both sides, Allied and German soldiers ceased firing and came together on the battlefield to celebrate the holiday. They sang carols, exchanged gifts, and even lit Christmas trees. But as the holiday came to a close, they returned to their separate trenches to await orders for the war to begin again.John Hendrix wonderfully brings this story to life, interweaving fact and fiction along with his detailed illustrations and hand-lettered text. His story celebrates the humanity and kindness that can persist even during the darkest periods of our history. Back matter includes a glossary, additional information about World War I and the Christmas Truce and its aftermath, and an archival photograph taken during the Truce.
Praise for Shooting at the Stars
andquot;Few titles at this level convey the futility of World War I as well as this one does. A first choice.andquot;
--School Library Journal, starred review
andquot;Timed with the centenary of World War I but a lesson for always, Hendrixand#39;s tale pulls young readers close and shows the human side of war.andquot;
--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Murphy's (A Savage Road to Thunder) account of the causes and first months of WWI offers a poignant and sometimes graphic introduction to the 'war to end all wars.' While a few of the sepia-toned photos and artwork portray haunting imagery (including one of dead bodies in a trench), the six-chapter narrative doesn't bog down in gloom and hopelessness. Instead, its focus the Christmas truce that occurred along Western Front trenches in 1914 leaves readers with hope in the human spirit and a sense of the folly and futility of the Great War. The grainy pictures of the truce, taken with soldiers' own cameras, show combatants standing shoulder to shoulder, often smiling or exchanging gifts. 'German soldiers noticed that a wooden board was being held up by British soldiers with the words 'Merry Christmas'.... Several miles away, another board appeared on the German side that read, 'You no fight, we no fight.' ' Myriad quotations from young men on both sides (often taken from letters home) set a very personal tone. An extensive time line and additional source material wrap up this moving history lesson. Ages 9 12. Enjoy the diverse flavors of the season with some sparkling originals, a few familiar faces and fresh takes on the classics." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Two-time Newbery Honor Book author Jim Murphy writes a stunning nonfiction masterpiece about a Christmas miracle on the Western Front during World War I.
On July 29th 1914, the worlds peace was shattered as the artillery of the Austria-Hungary Empire began shelling the troops of the country to its south. What followed was like a row of falling dominoes as one European country after another rushed into war. Soon most of Europe was fighting in this calamitous war that could have been avoided. This was, of course, the First World War.
But who could have guessed that on December 25 the troops would openly defy their commanding officers by stopping the fighting and having a spontaneous celebration of Christmas with their "enemies"? (cont'd)
About the Author
Jim Murphy is the celebrated author of more than thirty-five books for young readers, most notably TRUCE: THE DAY THE SOLDIERS STOPPED FIGHTING and THE GREAT FIRE, a Newbery Honor Winner. His carefully researched, engaging, and elegantly written nonfiction has garnered the most prestigious awards in the field. He lives in Maplewood, New Jersey, with his wife and their two sons.