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Code Talker: A Novel about the Navajo Marines of World War Two

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Overview

After being taught in a boarding school run by whites that Navajo is a useless language, Ned Begay and other Navajo men are recruited by the Marines to become Code Talkers, sending messages during World War II in their native tongue.

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Overview

After being taught in a boarding school run by whites that Navajo is a useless language, Ned Begay and other Navajo men are recruited by the Marines to become Code Talkers, sending messages during World War II in their native tongue.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"When WWII broke out, Navajos…were recruited by the Marine Corps to use their native language to create an unbreakable code….Telling his story to his grandchildren, Ned relates his experiences in school, military training, and across the Pacific….With its multicultural themes and well-told WWII history, this will appeal to a wide audience." Kirkus Reviews
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780756967079
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 7/20/2006
  • Pages: 231
  • Sales rank: 621,299
  • Age range: 10 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Joseph Bruchac is a highly acclaimed children's book author, poet, novelist and storyteller, as well as a scholar of Native American culture. Coauthor with Michael Caduto of the bestselling Keepers of the Earth series, Bruchac's poems, articles and stories have appeared in hundreds of publications, from Akwesasne Notes and American Poetry Review to National Geographic and Parabola. He has authored many books for adults and children including Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two, Skeleton Man, and The Heart of a Chief. For more information about Joseph, please visit his website www.josephbruchac.com.

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Table of Contents

Code Talker
Listen, My Grandchildren
1. Sent Away
2. Boarding School
3. To Be Forgotten
4. Progress
5. High School
6. Sneak Attack
7. Navajos Wanted
8. New Recruits
9. The Blessingway
10. Boot Camp
11. Code School
12. Learning the Code
13. Shipping Out to Hawaii
14. The Enemies
15. Field Maneuvers
16. Bombardment
17. First Landing
18. On Bougainville
19. Do You Have a Navajo?
20. The Next Targets
21. Guam
22. Fatigue
23. Pavavu
24. Iwo Jima
25. In Sight of Suribachi
26. The Black Beach
27. Okinawa
28. The Bomb
29. Going Home
Author's Note
Selected Bibliography
Acknowledgments

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 40 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(21)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 27, 2009

    Bought it for Independent Reading for 11-year-old boy

    My son and I both loved this book. He's not a reader, but it's told almost in the voice of a person sharing an Indian legend, which kept him interested through the slower parts. And I, as an adult, didn't find it too simplistic even though it was also perfect for an 11-year-old.

    After we finished this book, my son asked me if there were other books like this because his teacher makes them find an Independent Reading book every month and he usually finds it torturous.

    Highly, HIGHLY recommend.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2009

    Code Talker - review by parent

    This book was one of the choices on the required summer reading list for 8th graders. My son is not a huge reader but enjoyed this book because it is well written and deals with a subject most people do not know about. The story begins with a straight forward account of how some Navajo children were sent to boarding schools to be "taught" how to be less Navajo. In particular, that the Navajo children should speak only English and not their native language. It talks about pride and, how for the narrator, this was a hurtful experience. However, during World War II, when enemies were breaking military codes, the Navajo language became instrumental in sending messages. Much of the book is about the battles for the South Pacific islands. Information is given when a fellow soldier is killed but it is presented in a matter-of-fact way without being too detailed (the reader comes away with a sadness about, for example, the loss of a friend). Importantly, the book tells about the pride felt by the Navajos who, ultimately, were respected by their peers.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2011

    highly recommeneded

    very hard to get into. but once you keep reading it becomes a very interesting book. it really lets you know about the past and lets you see it through others eyes and really lets you know how they felt

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 14, 2010

    Great Book

    This book Code Talkers, was very interesting and gave me a lot of new information. It was a very addicting story that i never wanted to put down. This book is about a young boy Ned Begay. He was forced into boarding school at a young age to learn the english way of life. The boarding school was ran by all whit Americans that forbid Ned and his other Navajo companions to never speak their native toung again. After graduating from his boarding school at age 15, he joined the United States Marine Corps. While he is in boot camp he finds out that all navajo indians are going to become "Code Talkers". Their job was to pass secret codes through their Navajo net in the south pacific. While fighting against the Japanese this was the marines new secret weapon. Find out what happens to Ned and his other Navajo brothers by picking up this great book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2009

    The best book in the World!!!!!!!

    I do not read very much at all. But this book i just could not put down. Also easy to understand too.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Informative

    This book was all right. It was not my favorite WW2 novel, but it did surpass a few. This book was very informative, I learned a lot, but it wasn't absorbing. I often felt I was only being preached at, and I didn't even remember the main characters name, because everything seemed so impersonal. It felt like a history text book, and wasn't nearly dark enough for a WW2 novel. One thing it did manage to capture whole-heartedly was the Navajo spirit.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2009

    Code Talker Central

    Code Talker is a historical fiction novel, written in a first person perspective. It follows the life of a Navajo Indian from his first days at a mission school to the end of World War II. Joseph Bruchac's fictional tale of Ned Begay not only provides an interesting story, but also has educational value.

    The casual style in which Code Talker is written helps give some leeway in terms of formal writing. Bruchac uses the relaxed style to give extra detail or information, such as the meanings of military acronyms, or Navajo rituals. This extra information gives clarity to the story.

    Bruchac himself is a Native American, and he expresses his fascination with the Navajo code talkers in the author's note at the end of the book. This enthusiasm is shown through a vast knowledge of both World War II and Navajo history.

    That's not to say that the story is overpowered by facts and figures. They are only used to help give perspective, scale, and detail. The presence of so many details also helps to give believability to a fictional account.

    I only have two complaints about the story: the book should have continued into Ned's post-war years in America, and it could have had a more mature perspective. That doesn't necessarily mean a story filled with blood and gore, but there could and should have been more sadness and death in a novel about World War II.

    Code Talker is a good introductory novel about the Navajo code talkers in World War II. It also provides information on Navajo traditions, and the bibliography at the end of the book gives suggestions of further reading. I recommend this to anyone who is interested in a lesser-known aspect of World War II.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2009

    The Navajo Marines of World War II

    Unknown by many, but the Navajo Indians played a key role in the winning of World War II. They're language was used to send secret messages from unit to unit without being intercepted by the enemies. Known as code talkers, these men risked their lives and were quite important in World War II. This book was hard to put down and I wanted to read more and more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 20, 2008

    Code Talker

    The book Code Talker was a quite an interesting, and somewhat addicting story of a young boy by the name of Ned Begay. He is forced into a boarding school at the age of 6, to learn English, and the American way of life. His boarding school is run by white Americans. At the boarding school, Ned and his fellow Navajo indians are given clothes, and food, but are forced to never speak their native tongue, Navajo. After graduating from his school, at the age of 15, Ned enlists himself into the Marines. After being sent into Boot Camp, Ned finds out that they need all the Navajo indians to become "Code Talkers". They would pass codes to other Navajo's through radio codes while fighting against the Japanese. Those codes were to be sent in their forbidden language, Navajo. The Marines were using them as a secret weapon. Ned and the other Navajo's end up saving countless American Marines through their sacred language. Ned's experiences in training and even on the battle field change him forever.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2008

    GREAT BOOK!!!

    Code Talker By: Joseph Bruchac. Navajos to the rescue! Ned Begay is a Navajo that is sent to boarding school. He passes through boarding school with flying colors, and moves on to high school. Most of his friends are a year older than him. They join the service as Marines. They came back from war all dressed up in their uniforms which makes Ned want to join. Now it¿s his turn to come home and impress everyone at home. This book is great for the ages 10-20. This book is easy to read and to follow along. The author¿s tale of the book is inspiring to young adults. The book will send your emotions on a roller coaster. It will pick your spirit up, and sometimes make you think how cruel the world really is. The pace of the book was strange. It would get really intense and then slowly work its way back up like it was a pattern. The whole idea that using the Navajo language to send codes was real, and was kept classified for twenty years. The book also contains actual Navajo language. This book has a lot of information of World War Two and the way of Navajo people. I would recommend this book for people that like stuff about wars, don¿t like to read, and want to help lift their spirit.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2008

    It is a good book for middle school readers

    Code Talker By: Joseph Bruchac. Have you ever thought how people communicate to each other during war? They use to use the Navajo Indians to communicate so no one knows. The Navajos have a special language only they know. This book is about a young man named Ned Begay who was assigned to serve as a code talker. Which they used the Navajo language as the code. This book is for grades fifth and up. It is about young man at war that is a Navajo code talker. In case you don¿t like hard words, there are not that many hard words but when run in to one is pretty tough. The author¿s voice is quietly interesting. Though in some parts his voice gets dull and boring and you do not want to read any more. It is an easy read but there is a lot of vocabulary you should know. This story was classified for 20 years. There is not that much information in some chapters but other chapter takes for ever and just drags on and on. It talks about some battles with more description then others. The information is organized in chronological order. I was not a big fan of this book but I never did like historical fiction. If you like historical fiction you should try this book. The best parts were the inspiring action packed battles.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2013

    I read this book in my college english class, I love this author

    I read this book in my college english class, I love this author! Great insight story of WW2, great details of the aftermath with what this soldier has seen and has whitnessed of being a navajo, and joining the u.s. marine's, what his dream was, and how he accomplished it! If you have had a member of your family in the marines, or yourself are in it. Read this book! It's a great story.

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  • Posted July 21, 2012

    I remember picking this book up randomly at my school. So I was

    I remember picking this book up randomly at my school. So I was surprised about how enjoyable it was.

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  • Posted December 13, 2010

    Navajo Marines in the Pacific

    Code Talker is probably one of my favorite World War 11 novels ever. I really liked the suspense of how of the journey that Navajo Ned Begay (main character) when he was just a little boy growing up in a missionary school to then in the Pacific Ocean dodging bullets and sending messages in their sacred language. While Ned is in the Pacific in Japanese territory, we see through his eyes on how things are for him and his fellow comrades in war. Some things that Ned encounters may be happy and peaceful or scary when Ned becomes in a life or death situation which in my opinion makes a great thrilling book and keeps you wondering on what is going to happen next. I truly recommend this books to anyone who likes adventure, thrill, mystery, or likes to read about World War 11 books.

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  • Posted October 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Navajo Warriors

    The story is about Navajo Marines of World War Two. This book isn't for little kids it is an older kids' book. And the book is a great book to read especially if you like World War 2 and Navajo subjects then this is a book for you.

    It is about a Navajo boy who is sent to a white school and is forbidden to talk his native talk. He is also told that Navajos are bad and worthless. Until Pearl Harbor was bombed Navajos were thought of in that way. When they went to war they had codes and the Japanese had broken all their codes so they used a Navajo man for an assignment and they decided that they were going to use Navajos. When he is fifteen he goes and enlists in the army and he becomes a code talker during World War 2. I am judging the book by how good it is and what I am interested in. My great grandpa fought in World War 2 and I've been interested ever since.

    I have been into World War 2 books for a while and one of them I loved the most is called Elephant Run and it is about a boy that lived at Pearl Harbor. When they bombed it his mom sent him to live with his dad in a rain forest. As soon as he gets there the Japanese take over the island and take his dad to a prison camp while him and his friend Mya is forced to work for the general around the house. As they make a daring run on an elephant it is truly a good book.

    So overall Code Talker is a great book that people should read. I rate this five out of five and it is one of the best books I have ever read. It is hard for me to find a book I will actually read and enjoy and this was one of the few of them and I wish the book wouldn't have ever ended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2008

    One of the most exciting books I have read yet

    When I first bought this book at my book fair I thought it was just a cool looking book. Then I started reading it and found that it was a really great book. I hate reading books normally and very few books catch my attention... When I read the first few para. of Code Talkers I couldn't put it down. Every page had something else on it that made me want to keep reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2008

    A reviewer

    Ned Begay knows he¿s going to be a Marine in World War II, but doesn¿t know how big a job he¿s going to have that involves his sacred language. Ned becomes a Marine, and his job is as a code talker. He gets shipped from island to island, sending and receiving messages. Ned is in some brutal combat but survives, and so does America as it defeats Japan. This is a great story of a boy who was taught that his native language was no good, but that very same language helps win World War II. I¿d recommend this to anyone who loves vivid descriptions of war and a terrific story. This book does an awesome job of showing how scary war can be. In World War II, the Japanese often did banzai attacks at night. Banzai attacks are where soldiers sprint with anything that could possibly hurt someone, and don¿t stop until the enemy is dead or the soldiers are all dead. Another example is when Ned, the main character, was running with his best friend, Georgia Boy. And then Georgia Boy got shot in the neck by a Japanese bullet. In 1929, the Red Cross created rules that said captured prisoners of war had to be fed and housed in a humane way. But Japan didn¿t agree to those rules, so the prisoners who were captured by Japan were forced into slave labor, starved, and beaten. I like how code talkers, who are Navajo Indians, were very important in the war, which made Ned very happy. One of the reasons it makes him so happy is because in boarding school, he was taught that his native heritage was worthless and dumb. The Navajos in the war would talk in a secret code to one another that the Japanese couldn¿t understand. Unfortunately, at the end, Ned walks into a bar and the bartender won¿t serve him just because he¿s Navajo. Ned is very disappointed because he worked so hard for America, and yet he¿s still looked at as though he¿s not an equal to white people. It¿s interesting how the Japanese have very different beliefs from Americans. One of the Japanese thoughts was that when you do a kamikaze, you die with pride. A kamikaze is when a plane flies into a boat, usually an aircraft carrier, and tries to kill everyone on the boat even if it means dying themselves. In Iwo Jima, a tiny island, the Japanese pasted on every pillbox (a minor fortress in warfare) that the goal for the Japanese is to kill ten enemy soldiers before they die. A Japanese belief is to never surrender. When Emperor Hirohito surrendered, it was a complete shock to the Japanese. This awesome war book shows how even people who are treated like dirt can turn out to be heroes. And Ned certainly was a hero. Ned also had a huge amount of self-control. He couldn¿t tell anyone about being a code talker until later after the war. I love how this is almost like an underdog story that shows no matter what race you are, you can still do something incredible. I¿d recommend this book to anyone who likes a super action book. S.Howard

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2008

    page turner!

    I was told to read this book by a friend. And the book really shows the strength and courage of some of the Navojos during the tough times of World War ll. It gave me chills to know that even though some of the minorities of America were still able and willing to make a difference in the right direction. They may not have been appreciated at first, but what these brave men did cannot be downplayed. This book gives you a firsthand experience of one of the real reasons that the U.S. was succesful during World War ll.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2008

    Just try it!

    The Navajo Marines helped save the second world war. But how? This story tells you through the eyes of a Najaho Code talker named Ned Begay'Kii Yazhi'who lives on the reservation of Arizona. Ned must start his life in the mission schools on the rez. Then in an instand a war breaks out! A war some have lived through and some are about to. The second worls war. At the under age for fighting in the war Ned Begay must convince his parents to let him in the war, but they debate. After months a school Ned finally get his prayers answered. Ned gets sent to a training camp to prepare him for the war. After months of training Ned shiped out to Hawaii. There something happens that he didn't expect. They are teachinf the Navajo Marines the sacret language of Navajo! The same language they would get yelled at and whipped at in mission school. Later after being granted the honnors of a Code Talker. Ned gets shipped out to the islands on Japan.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2008

    Outstanding book

    'Code Talker' By Joseph Bruchac is an exciting and informal book about the Navajo code talkers of World War Two, putting it in front view of what these Marines experienced during WW2. An outstanding book, I would recommend this book to anyone.

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