Boy at War: A Novel of Pearl Harborby Harry Mazer
December 7, 1941: A morning like any other, but the events of this day would leave no one untouched.
For Adam, living near Honolulu, this Sunday morning is one he has been looking forward to fishing with friends, away from the ever-watchful eyes of his father, a navy lieutenant. Then, right before his eyes, Adam watches Japanese planes fly/i>
December 7, 1941: A morning like any other, but the events of this day would leave no one untouched.
For Adam, living near Honolulu, this Sunday morning is one he has been looking forward to fishing with friends, away from the ever-watchful eyes of his father, a navy lieutenant. Then, right before his eyes, Adam watches Japanese planes fly overhead and attack the U.S. Navy. All he can think is that it's just like in the movies. But as he sees his father's ship, the Arizona, sink beneath the water, he realizes this isn't make-believe. It's real.
Over the next few days, Adam searches for answers about his friends, the war, and especially, his father. But Adam soon learns sometimes there are no answers.
- Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
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- Product dimensions:
- 5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.30(d)
- Age Range:
- 10 - 14 Years
Read an Excerpt
"Look," Bea said, holding up her stuffed animal. It was Saturday morning and she was sitting on Adam's bed. "Bear says good morning to Adam."
Bea was still in her nightgown. She slept in an alcove in a corner of their parents' room. Adam's room was off the kitchen. The model planes he'd built hung from the ceiling. They were never still.
Bea pushed her teddy bear in his face. "Bear says time to kiss." Adam put down the model plane he'd been maneuvering and gave Bear an extra-loud kiss. "Stop it." She pinched his nose. "Do you want to play?"
"Surely, little girl." He gave her his newest Japanese fighter plane. "It's called a Zero, and this game is called dogfight."
"I don't like dogs who fight."
"It's not dogs fighting, it's planes fighting each other the way they do it in a war. This is the way we play. You're high, against the sun, so I can't see you till the last second, and you come out of the sun, shooting down at me."
"You don't shoot your brother."
"It's only a game." He moved her arm so her plane was above his. "Make believe you're going to shoot me."
"I can do it," she said, pushing his hand away. "You don't have to show me. Bap! Bap! Bap!"
"Good! See how you're behind me, on my tail? It looks bad for me, but watch this." He sent his navy Corsair into a rolling dive and came back up under the Zero. "You see that? I just blew your plane into a thousand pieces."
"You did not." Bea held her plane up triumphantly. "See, you missed me."
"Okay, test time," he said. "What's the Punchbowl?"
"Where we live."
"Do you know it's a dead -- "
"Volcano! I know that already."
"Do you know that Hawaii is built on all dead volcanoesthat came out of the ocean?"
"You told me." She yawned, patting her mouth. "That is so boring."
He picked up another model plane with square-tipped wings. "What's this plane called?"
"I don't know. No fair."
"Grumman Wildcat. It's the navy fighter plane. And this one here, next to it, is a P-40 Curtiss Warhawk. It's the army fighter, and this one's a German Messerschmitt Me 109."
"Which plane is the best?"
"The American planes are always the best."
"We always win," Bea said.
"Hello..." Their mother looked in. "Anybody home? It's time for breakfast."
"We're playing dogfight," Bea said. "Bap, bap, bap! I won, Mommy."
"Is it really time for breakfast, Mom?" Adam asked.
"It's almost time for lunch, kiddo. Let's clear the decks and get this bunk ready for inspection."
When his father was home, their house was a ship. The floors were decks, beds were bunks, windows were portholes, the kitchen was the galley, and if Adam said "bathroom," his father said, "I think you mean the head."
"Your father sees this mess, you're in for a lecture," his mother said.
"And maybe a sock on the behind," Bea said. "And you're going to cry and cry."
"Let me remind you, little girl," Adam said, "boys don't cry."
He lifted her off his bunk, then made it navy style, by the book, everything taut, hospital corners, no wrinkles. His father was still asleep, so his mother would do the inspection. It was their regular Saturday-morning ritual, whether his father was here or not.
When he was ready, he called her, then stood by the door. His mother did a tough inspection. There was always some place he'd forgotten to dust. It was the shelf in the closet this time. When his father did the inspection, he'd bounce a quarter on the bunk and if it didn't bounce high enough for him to catch, Adam would have to tear the bunk apart and make it over again.
After his mother had finished the inspection and he had wiped the shelf, she interrogated him exactly as his father did, even deepening her voice. "Do you appreciate that you have a room of your own, sailor?"
"Yes, sir, I do!"
"I didn't have a room of my own when I was a boy, sailor."
"No, sir, I know that."
His mother stood at attention. She enjoyed this little game they played. "All I ever got for Christmas was a pair of itchy red socks. No model airplanes, no Raleigh racers."
"No, sir," he said. "I know that, sir!"
"Are you thankful for what you have?"
"Yes, sir, I am. I know that I'm one fortunate son of a gun. And I have to give back, I know that, too. Yes, sir, I am a grateful boy."
"Are you mocking me, sailor?"
"That's going to get you six months of KP, sailor."
In the kitchen a few minutes later, his mother put the yellow cornflakes box on the table with a bowl and a banana. Bea was on the floor playing with Bear. "I want Jell-O, please," she said. Koniko, their Japanese maid, didn't work on the weekends, although she'd be in later to baby-sit Bea. Adam and his parents were going to the movies.
Adam peeled the banana. "What was Dad like when he was my age, Mom?"
"He was a farm boy, and he had to work terribly, terribly hard. If there was work to be done, he got up at five every morning before school. A lot of times he never made it to school. He was the oldest, and your grandpa needed him on the farm. Grandpa couldn't do a lot with just one arm."
Adam's grandfather Pelko had lost an arm in the Austro-Hungarian army during World War I. That arm ended just below the elbow. He usually kept a sock over the stump. He could always make Adam jump by wriggling the bare stump in his face.
"Dad ran away from home, didn't he?"
Adam knew the answer, but this was the thing about his father that most fascinated him. His father, so disciplined, so regular, so sober, was once free enough -- or wild enough -- that he left his family and took to the road. Fourteen years old, Adam's age. He had thought about that a lot. That was really brave.
His mother emptied the contents of a Jell-O package into a bowl. "Your father ran away, but he wasn't a bad kid. He joined the navy -- "
" -- And lied about his age," Adam said.
"Your father doesn't lie! I don't like the way you said that, Adam."
"Sorry," he said.
She poured boiling water over the Jell-O. "It wasn't the same as real lying. He wanted the navy. He needed a home. Sometimes life forces you to do things. We don't know how hard his life was, Adam. We can't even imagine it. He had to work like a man from the time he was eight years old. You will never have to make the choices he did."
She stirred the Jell-O. "And what he's accomplished, the position of trust and authority that he's risen to, everything he's achieved -- he did it all by himself. He came up from nothing. Your father -- I have to say it -- your father is an admirable man. Really, a great man."
"Maybe he'll be admirable of the fleet someday."
A flip remark. It just sprang out of his mouth. He really agreed with his mother, his father was admirable, but there was something about his being so admirable that, well, scared Adam. Would he ever be capable of doing what his father did? Could he ever be even half the man his father was?
If his mother caught the admirable pun, she didn't let on. "There might be a war," she said. She refilled the teakettle.
"War with Japan?" he asked.
"Yes." She sighed. "Nobody wants it, but -- "
"Dad wants it."
"What do you mean 'Dad wants it'? What kind of thing is that to say, Adam?"
"I mean that's his job, Mom. That's what all the training exercises are about. Don't worry, we're ready for them."
"Ready is one thing, war is something else."
"You don't have to worry, Mom. There's nothing safer than a battleship. If war comes, Dad's going to be okay."
He made his hand into a gun. War was exciting. It was action. It was ships, planes, and guns. It was being faster and smarter than your enemy. It was defending your country.
"Dad says all that talk in Washington is a waste of time. The Japs want to push us out of the Pacific, but if they try, we're going to knock their heads off."
"Don't say 'Jap,'" his mother said. "It's vulgar."
He put his bowl in the sink. He just hoped that if war came, it wouldn't be over too soon. "I'm going out now," he said.
"Get me some papayas first," his mother said.
He stepped out into the garden. The grass was wet and tickled his bare feet. It was December, and there were flowers in the bushes and bird sounds in the air, and everywhere there was the smell of summer. A big, ugly toad sat under the papaya tree. Adam inched his foot toward it. "Buffo," he said, and it jumped away.
He picked a few papayas and brought them in to his mother. "I'll be back at 1800."
"Where are you going?"
Where was he going? He didn't know. "I'm just going to poke around."
"Be home on time. You know your father."
"Don't worry, Mom, I'll be here."
Text copyright © 2001 by Harry Mazer
Meet the Author
Harry Mazer is the author of many books for young readers, including Please, Somebody Tell Me Who I Am; My Brother Abe; the Boy at War trilogy; The Wild Kid; The Dog in the Freezer; The Island Keeper; and Snow Bound. His books have won numerous honors, including a Horn Book honor and an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults citation. Along with his wife, Norma Fox Mazer, Harry received an ALAN award in 2003 for outstanding contribution to adolescent literature. He lives in Montpelier, Vermont.
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Book Review Outline Book title and author: A Boy at War, Harry Mazer Title of review: Autumn’s and Emily’s book review Number of stars (1 to 5): 4 Introduction- A boy at war is about the attack on Pearl Harbor. This Boy named Adam has to live in Hawaii with his parents. His dad is in the navy, and his dad’s ship is the Arizona. Adams dad gets called out; he says he will be back tomorrow. The next thing they know Pearl Harbor is getting attacked by the Japanese. Description and summary of main points- Adam’s dad told him not to be friends with Davi because his parents are Japanese. Then his dad gets called out to go to the naval base: he tells them that he will be back tomorrow. Then the attack started and Adam and Davi were fishing. Adam loses his friend Davi for a little bit because Adam tries to push his off the boat during the attack. After the attack Adam sees this marine Sargent. The Marine Sargent takes them back to the base and gets them dressed and gives them guns. Then they go out and start shooting. Adam thinks about leaving the whole time. He does. Evaluation- Adam was devastated when his mom said that they had to move he thought they were leaving his dad there. He said his dad was still alive. Before they knew they were leaving Adam left a note to his mom and said “Gone to find out about dad. Don’t worry. I won’t do anything stupid.” When they had to leave Adam said “Mom, I’m going to stay here.” Although he did not stay in Hawaii, he had to go with his mother and Bea. The characters in the book are Adam, Davi, His mom and dad, Bea, The maid. This book is like a war theme because of the attack. This attack devastated thousands of people. It is a big deal because it killed millions of Americans. Conclusion- A boy at war is about the attack on Pearl Harbor. A Boy named Adam has to live in Hawaii with his parents, because his dad is in the navy. They get attacked by the Japanese. Your final review- If you are thinking about reading this book I think you should. This is a good book to read. It makes you wonder what you are going to find out about what all happened. Especially about Adam’s dad. This book turns out to be good.
Book Review Outline Book title and author: Boy a War author unknown Title of review: Boy at War Number of stars (1 to 5):4 This book is historical fiction called Boy at War. In this book it tells about a young boy, and his best friend who happen to be Japanese. They live in Hawaii in Pearl Harbor. The young boy is there with his family, and his dad is a crew member on the S.S. Arizona. Before the two boys can even say anything plains start to attack, and they are forced away from each other, and things go from bad to worse. Once I started this book I couldn't put it down. This book is full of excitement and adventure.Altogether I give this book a four. It's great for history buffs. I'd recommend this book for grades fifth through seventh.
Introduction: During the beginning of World War ll, a boy named Adam Pelko, the main character in the Boy At War. Moved to Honolulu and started attending a new High School. He made friends with a Japanese boy named Davi; they became pretty good friends until… Description and summary of main points: Adam is moved to Honolulu because of his dad James Palko, a Navy man. Adam is use to being moved around a lot. This time he moved because the start of World War ll. Adam didn’t know what was ahead of him, but he is about to find out. Evaluation: It’s a great book. But it has some negatives to it. Such as them leading on through 2 paragraphs, making you think that his father might still be alive. When you know that he has been dead since the bombing. It would have made the book better if his father would have made it and was on shore at the time. Conclusion: Adam is setting in the living room with his mom and they get a letter saying. “The secretary of war desires me to express his deep regret that your husband LT Emory J Pelko has been missing in action at Pearl Harbor since 7, December, 41 confirming letter follows J A Ulio the Adjutant General. Your final review: A Boy at War is a very good book. I would recommend this book to people from the ages 10 and up. Also, for people that enjoy story’s about war. The author describes details very clearly and nice. I just wish that the ending was a little bit different, to where Adams father James would have lived.
Omg this book was epic!!! I read it for a book club and absolutely loved it!! I recommend this book for ages 8 and up.
Omg so good read it maany times and it gets better and better
It was like being in the real thing
Book Review Outline by Garrett Book title and author: A Boy at War by Harry Mazer Title of review: My Opinion on A Boy at War Number of stars (1 to 5): 4 Introduction A Boy at War is an interesting book in my opinion. It takes place in early day Honolulu, Hawaii. The main character (Adam) is living a totally different life now, where white people aren’t as welcomed as you would think. Hawaii, at this time, was flooded with Japanese Americans, so if you moved there, especially if you were a Navy boy, you were frowned upon. John was having a good time while he was living in Hawaii, making friends, doing well in school, but then all at once, it started. Japanese planes flew high in the sky, dropping bombs, killing Americans and even their own kind. Sinking ships, destroying buildings, and John saw it all happen, he seen the worst of it, his father’s ship, the Arizona, was hit by a bomb, as it was sinking John couldn’t believe his eyes. He knew that life would never be the same. Description and summary of main points John is forced to move to Hawaii due to his father being in the Navy. John was making friends, and then all of a sudden bombs appeared, flying out of the air. John’s father’s ship was sunk. John spent the next couple of days trying to find an answer, but in the end, some questions are just not answerable. Evaluation I argue that this was a well thought out book. It gets down to the main point with everything it says. I would argue that this book would have at least above 3 stars. A Boy at War kind of takes you back in the day, when Japanese would be on American soil but still frown upon white Americans. This book is an outstanding book. I definitely would recommend this to you. Conclusion A Boy at War is one of the best books I’ve read all year. It really capitalized on the key objectives that John had to operate to find the answers to his father’s missing. This is a really well planned book. I recommend it to all ages. Your final review A Boy at War, this book takes place in Honolulu, Hawaii. Adam and his family moves there due to his father being in the Navy, which forces him to move a lot. Adam was living a good life now in Hawaii; he was making friends, which was number one on his list. Adam and some buddies had gone fishing; as they were there Adam started to hear a noise. BOOM! Adam looks over; all he can see is Japanese air planes cutting through the wind, dropping bombs. BOOM! Adam hears another bomb, he quickly snaps his head around to look, his father’s ship, the Arizona, had been hit, and sunk. Adam now spends the next couple of days trying to figure out what had happen. Was his father on the ship? If so, was he killed? All answers that Adam would love to know. Read a Boy at War for you to find out what happens in the end for yourself.
I teach 4th grade and we read this novel every Winter. Out of all the novels we read throughout the year, this one easily becomes the favorite. It is a very well written coming of age story. It easily touches the heart as it explores realities of war, family, friendship, and prejudice. I have dozens of my students, 10 year old boys and girls, seek out the sequels in the series all on their own. The book can be somewhat graphic, but it is realistic and true to history. Yes, boys will like this book, but don't leave out the girls. The internal struggles and growth that Adam goes through with his family and friends are gripping to all genders, as we as experience the history of Pearl Harbor through his eyes. To those who say this book is for people that like war, I have to say that though this book's setting is the historical events surrounding Pearl Harbor, it is the boy and his relationships that the central core of this novel.
This book will knock your socks off. It is so spectacular. There is a boy named Adam his dad is in the navy so they move around loads.He goes on a fishing trip and the hell lets loose . My favourite part of the book is when he drives the jeep. I recommend this book to people who like war. Definitely read this book, it is excellent
This book is very entertaining and it is about a boy named Adam and his dad is in the military called Lieutenant Pelko. Adam´s dad dies when Adam is fishing. My favourite part of this book is when Adam is fishing in Pearl harbour. You will love this book if you like gunfire and war. I love this book it will blow your socks off.
A Boy at War is an very interesting book that will knock you out of your socks. A Boy at War is about a boy whose dad is a lieutenant in the navy. He has just gone fishing when suddenly the Japanese planes attack and almost totally destroy Pearl Harbor after that he has a great adventure searching for answers for his dad and his friends. I love the part where the Japanese planes attack because everything is written in great detail. A Boy at War is a wonderful book especially for people who like books based on real things that happened and for people who like amazing adventures with lots of reflections. Nothing can beat A Boy at War.
I loved this book. it changed the way i look at the bombing on hawaii.i think the ending was really good.If i could read this book agein i would.I like this book because it was suspenceful and it had a known bombing in it. i like nonfictional books because i think its cool to see what really went on there.If you like war and nonfictional book you should read this wonderfull book.
A Boy at War by Harry Mazer tells the story of a young boy named Adam who was raised in a military family and has just moved to Pearl Harbor. He is thrust into a completely different world with new friends to be made, racial boundaries to be conquered, and challenges to be completed. But once Pearl Harbor is bombed by the Japanese, all these things are insignificant. Adam finds himself in the middle of the confusion, terror, and bloody mayhem. He must use all the skills instilled in him by his father to survive, fight, and make it back home. This book was an easy read, and it took me about an hour and a half to finish. I somewhat enjoyed the book, but wish it could have been a little longer to give the ending more of a sense of finality. I thought the book's characters were well developed, and that may be why I didn't put it down. I like war stories, and, while this was a war book, it lacked certain elements of realism. I would have preferred there have been more fighting, but overall it was a good book. I liked how it gave you a look into what the lives of a military family at Pearl Harbor would have been. I would recommend this to teen readers who like war books and are looking for a quick, easy read.
it feel like poop
It started off as a fishing trip to perl harbor. Now adam is in the middle of a deadly world war 2 battle!
Adam Pelko is a fourteen-year-old boy who has just moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, with his father, who is a navy officer aboard the U. S. S. Arizona, mother, and little sister. Early on Sunday morning, Dec. 7, 1941, he goes fishing with his school friends Davi, a boy of Japanese descent, and Martin, a Hawaiian boy, in Pearl Harbor. I will leave the reader to remember from history what occurred on that day at that location. What will happen to Adam? And, perhaps more importantly, what happened to his father? Parents may want to know there are a few instances of swearing and taking the Lord's name in vain, other references to cursing, and some instances of drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco. Otherwise, this is a very interesting coming of age story of historical fiction for young people set at the beginning of America's entry into World War II. There is a sequel entitled A Boy No More.
Adam Pelko is a fourteen-year-old boy who has just moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, with his father, who is a navy officer aboard the U. S. S. Arizona, mother, and little sister. Early on Sunday morning, Dec. 7, 1941, he goes fishing with his school friends Davi, a boy of Japanese descent, and Martin, a Hawaiian boy, in Pearl Harbor. I will leave the reader to remember from history what occurred on that day at that location. What will happen to Adam? And, perhaps more importantly, what happened to his father? Parents may want to know there are a few instances of swearing and taking the Lord's name in vain 'totally unnecessary and somewhat disappointing to me', other references to cursing, and some instances of drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco. Otherwise, this is a very interesting coming of age story of historical fiction for young people set at the beginning of America's entry into World War II. There is a sequel entitled A Boy No More.
it is a great book. i want to read the rest of the series. it is a very good historical book to read. it is also easy to make a report on it.