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Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

*On the Wings of Heroes* by Richard Peck- young readers book review
On the Wings of Heroes
by Richard Peck
Grades 5-9 160 pages Dial February 2007 Hardcover    

Richard Peck, the Newbery Award-winning author of A Year Down Yonder and the first children’s author to be awarded a National Humanities Medal, has published yet another exceptional young adult book in On the Wings of Heroes. Peck has received nearly every children’s book award in the industry for his exceptional work. With about 30 young adult novels, four adult novels, two nonfiction books, a short story and a picture book that have been published to date, Richard Peck's is a name that many recognize today.

On the Wings of Heroes begins with an opening statement by the author that gives some insight into his personality and upbringing and reveals a tender memory of his father. This is an appropriate opening into the book’s first chapter, as the story revolves around a father and his two sons.

This 154-page paperback novel tells an emotional American story seen through a young boy’s eyes during the period just prior to and during WWII. Davy Bowman lives in Illinois and has two heroes – his father and his brother, Bill. Bill has joined the war and will be flying B17 airplanes; Davy and his best friend join efforts on the home front by scavenging rubber, milkweed, metal and kitchen fat wastes.

Peck effectively escorts the reader through the experiences that Davy’s small town, his school and the people in the neighborhood are going through as memories of the first world war are sparked and fears grow while the men march off in preparation for their contribution to the war.

This book is written with sensitive flair, humor entwined with serious events and turmoil for consumers, farmers and families. I was entertained, educated and even surprised while reading On the Wings of Heroes. For instance, I was totally unaware that because the government needed pantyhose from citizens for parachutes, some women decided to paint their legs - including a fake seam to give the illusion that they were wearing hose!

After reading this novel, I am no longer surprised that this author has won nearly every major award that I have heard of, including the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement in Young Adult Literature. Peck writes with intense clarity, taking the reader through a magical time warp upon opening the first page. On the Wings of Heroes is published by Dial Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA), and the cover art was created by Chuck Pyle. Readers ranging from grades five through nine will certainly enjoy this book.

Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

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