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'Allies': Riveting historical fiction for young readers



"Mom! You have got to read this book!"

Who could turn down a recommendation like that?

Seizing at the chance to share an interest with my 11-year-old (and in need of a new read, anyway), I delved into "Allies" by Alan Gratz (brand new from Scholastic Press). A work of young-adult historical fiction, it tells the story of the 1944 D-Day invasion from multiple perspectives: a Canadian paratrooper; a French girl with parents in the Resistance; and a young U.S. soldier with a secret.

I found it a riveting read and a good introduction to World War II and D-Day. It did not gloss over the brutal realities of war, and particularly of the Allied invasion of Normandy. The storytelling includes many deaths, but I didn't find it gruesome or gratuitous.

My daughter couldn't put it down and frequently would share passages she found especially interesting. That's a sign of a good kids' book, isn't it?

Scholastic recommends it for ages 9-12, grades 4-7.

She also had loved Gratz's "Refugee," (2017) which, in a similar style, tells the stories of three young people fleeing their homes for various reasons: A Jewish boy in Nazi Germany, a Cuban girl in 1994 and a Syrian boy in 2015. That title is recommended for ages 8 and up. Like in "Allies," all is not happy or simple because it's a realistic take on actual events in history.


More book reviews and recommendations

Reviews of YA books: "Guts," the new Raina Telgemeier book | "The Thing About Jellyfish"


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