Candy Bomber: The Story of the Berlin Airlift's

Candy Bomber: The Story of the Berlin Airlift's "Chocolate Pilot"

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by Michael O. Tunnell
     
 

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World War II was over, and Berlin was in ruins. US Air Force pilot Gail Halvorsen wanted to bring some happiness to the children of the city— but what could one man in one plane do?

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Overview

World War II was over, and Berlin was in ruins. US Air Force pilot Gail Halvorsen wanted to bring some happiness to the children of the city— but what could one man in one plane do?

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
The Berlin Airlift began in 1948 to bring food and supplies into Russian-blockaded Berlin, Germany. One of the American pilots, Gail Halvorsen, was touring Berlin when he came upon a group of children gathered on the other side of a wire fence watching the planes land. They shared their concerns with Halvorsen, not only for their much needed food but also for freedom from Soviet rule. He was inspired to drop gum and candy. Concerned that the Air Force would not allow him to carry out his plan, he did it secretly. Soon, however, his popularity as the Candy Bomber spread. The candy drop became a symbol of hope for these young Berliners. Tunnell brings the reader up to date on Halvorsen who has met with the now grown-up children, their children and grandchildren. Halvorsen has continued to fly other humanitarian missions in the 1990s and the early 2000s. His uplifting story and unassuming demeanor emphasize how one small act of kindness can have a ripple effect. An historical note provides context. Tunnell interviewed Halvorsen for this book. Those interviews and the books and websites listed in the Selected References provided the quotes. Black and white photographs from the time of the airlift and those of present day, along with letters and drawings from grateful children provide a sense of how meaningful his candy drops were. There is an author's note and a Prologue written by Halvorsen. A fascinating story in many ways, this is a fine introduction to the beginning of the Cold War for middle school and high school students. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Tunnell brings to life a little-known post-World War II story. What started as a single pilot's car tour of bombed-out Berlin turned into an international campaign to help lighten the suffering of the children of West Berlin. The time was 1948, and the Soviet Union had closed all land access to the isolated Free World sectors of West Berlin in an attempt to starve the people into accepting Communist rule. On an impulse, a C-54 cargo pilot, Lt. Gail S. Halvorsen, shared the only two sticks of gum he had with a group of about 30 children. What started as a somewhat clandestine candy-dropping operation by Halvorsen and his buddies eventually became a USAF-sanctioned operation. As the airlift of food and fuel continued for almost two years, tons of candy were dropped (using tiny parachutes) for the children who waited in the flight path below. The text is liberally illustrated with black-and-white photos, copies of letters, and a diagram of how the flight patterns worked. Endpapers contain color reproductions of a few of the many pieces of children's artwork that Halvorsen received as the "Chocolate Pilot," "Uncle Wiggly Wings," and "Dear Onkl of the Heaven." Vocabulary is relatively easy, but adequate for the topic, which makes the text flow easily. The book concludes with extensive biographical, historical, and author's notes. This is a real treat—a World War II title with a happy ending. Make it a first purchase.—Eldon Younce, formerly at Harper Elementary School, KS

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781580893367
Publisher:
Charlesbridge
Publication date:
07/28/2010
Edition description:
New
Pages:
120
Product dimensions:
7.60(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile:
1130L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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