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Spy!
     

Spy!

4.9 24
by Anna Myers
 

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Coming of age during the American Revolution, Jonah is torn between honoring his Loyalist father's dying wish and taking up the cause of his Patriot neighbors. Inspired by his young, charismatic teacher, Nathan Hale, Jonah begins to question his family's beliefs. When a decision he makes leads to Nathan's execution, Jonah must live with the damage he has caused and

Overview

Coming of age during the American Revolution, Jonah is torn between honoring his Loyalist father's dying wish and taking up the cause of his Patriot neighbors. Inspired by his young, charismatic teacher, Nathan Hale, Jonah begins to question his family's beliefs. When a decision he makes leads to Nathan's execution, Jonah must live with the damage he has caused and learn to fight for what he knows to be right. Anna Myers's revolutionary war tale brings fresh meaning to the words "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country," blending all the excitement that comes with battle and espionage with a thought-provoking plot about Jonah's ethical dilemma.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Leslie Greaves Radloff
Nathan Hale is known to many only as a sidebar in the history or social studies textbooks, where a few lines provide his last words before being hung by the British as a spy during the Revolutionary War, "I regret that I have but one life to give for my country." Myers has used Hale as the main character in her novel and explores his origins and the beliefs that governed his life. We see a young teacher, well-liked and respected by his students, but also a studious man of conviction and purpose. He knew his ancient texts, and the quote above has its roots in Cato. Readers meet Hale through the eyes of a teenage boy who witnesses his hanging and then goes on to make his own decision about whether or not he should join the Revolutionary Army. This story is timely as many young people are making that choice now. Myers's writing shows thorough research and sympathy for the complex choices that must be made during times of crisis. Teachers looking for alternatives to old standbys like Johnny Tremain, My Brother Sam is Dead, April Morning, or Sarah Bishop will welcome this volume. Along with the first two titles mentioned, it seems to reflect the time in which it was written. Reviewer: Leslie Greaves Radloff
VOYA - Pam Carlson
Nathan Hale, charismatic teacher turned patriot and spy for George Washington, was hung by the British at the age of twenty-one after being betrayed by his cousin Samuel, a Tory sympathizer. Myers tells her thoughtful tale in short chapters alternating between the voice of The Man (Hale) and The Boy (Joshua Hawkins, one of his students). Joshua is torn in his loyalties. An excellent scholar, he was taken in by Samuel after the deaths of his parents-Samuel funded his education. But he also understood the yearning for freedom eloquently expressed by the patriots. The struggle to maintain civility between both sides continues until that fateful day in Lexington and the shot heard "'round the world.o Swift-paced and articulate without becoming academic or overly wordy, this historical fiction work is just the right length. It is a thoughtful narrative that provides a definite contrast to other war stories that focus on the battles and the blood. Myers delivers a character study for boys, which may cause them to examine the motives behind becoming a soldier. Read aloud in a classroom, it will provoke discussion, especially in a time when war is all around. An author's note speaks of her research, but no sources or books for further reading are cited. Reviewer: Pam Carlson
School Library Journal

Gr 5-8

Myers's novel about Nathan Hale shows the human side of history by using fictional characters to tell a story of everyday people caught up in monumental events. The perspective switches between that of Hale, a young schoolteacher, and his student Jonah, a 12-year-old orphan taken in by Nathan's wealthy cousin, Samuel. All of New London, CT, is talking about the dumping of British tea into Boston Harbor, and the townspeople are slowly dividing themselves into loyalists and patriots. Though Mr. Samuel is a Tory, Jonah is unsure of his own feelings. Eventually, Nathan joins General Washington's army as an officer and reluctantly agrees to take the dishonorable assignment of spying on British troops in New York City. Meanwhile, Samuel moves his family there, seeking a haven from the persecution loyalists are receiving. When Jonah runs into Nathan and confronts him, Nathan feels forced to reveal the truth about his work. Thinking his mentor deceitful, a devastated Jonah spills the story to Samuel. Soon after, Nathan is arrested, charged with treason, and sentenced to hang. Though Samuel suddenly has the money to journey to England, Jonah, feeling responsible for his teacher's death, instead heads for Washington's army. Set against clearly delineated historical events, the story employs personal thoughts and feelings to show the conflicts facing the colonists. This well-written novel is a good supplement to American history studies.-Diana Pierce, Leander High School, TX

Kirkus Reviews
It's tough to provide any suspense in a story about Nathan Hale, whose hanging for being a spy is so well known, so Myers invents a young student of Hale's from his Connecticut classroom to carry readers' interest. Jonah Hawkins is eager to learn, but too poor to pay school fees. Hale has arrived to teach at the local school and proceeds to ask his own brother, Samuel, a known Tory with a business connection to the Hawkins family, to provide for Jonah. When their father dies, Samuel's feeling of responsibility extends to practically adopting Jonah and his pretty, older sister, Mercy. The politics of war and rebellion are explored as this small community hears the news of the likely war to come. As the militias convert to an actual army under General Washington, Hale joins to support the cause even as his brother and Jonah head for the British stronghold in New York. Somewhat bland and idealized in the historical detail, the ethical dilemmas involved are nevertheless crisply conveyed, as is Jonah's admiration for his hero. (Historical fiction. 8-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802797421
Publisher:
Walker & Company
Publication date:
09/02/2008
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
864,707
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile:
710L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Anna Myers is the author of more than one dozen books, including, most recently, Wart. Tulsa Burning was a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, and Assassin was an Oklahoma Book Award winner. Anna lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
www.annamyers.info.

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