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Children’s Fiction of 2008: Jimmy’s Stars by Mary Ann Rodman

This book was another historical fiction title that started out, at least, like a history lesson with lots and lots of cultural references to the World War II era: clothes, popular songs and movies, 1940’s slang, rationing, sports, food. Finally, about three-fourths of the way through the book delivered a gut punch, and things started happening and I began to get interested.

Children’s fiction books set during World War II on the home front, USA, abound:
Don’t Talk To Me About the War by David Adler. Semicolon review here.
Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata. Semicolon review here.
Blue by Joyce Moyer Hostetter. Semicolon review here.
Keep Smiling Through by Ann Rinaldi.
My Secret War: The World War II Diary of Madeline Beck, Long Island, New York, 1941 by Mary Pope Osborne.
Early Sunday Morning: The Pearl Harbor Diary of Amber Billows, Hawaii, 1941 by Barry Denenberg.
Don’t You Know There’s a War On? by Avi.
Homefront by Doris Gwaltney.
Lily’s Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff.
WIllow Run by Patricia Reilly GIff.
On the Wings of Heroes by Richard Peck.
Autumn Street by Lois Lowry.
Stepping on the Cracks by Mary Downing Hahn.
Taking Wing by Nancy Graff.
Aloha Means Come Back: The Story of a World War II Girl by Thomas and Dorothy Hoobler.
Journey to Topaz by Yochiko Uchida.
Love You, Soldier by Amy Hest.
Pearl Harbor Is Burning! by Kathleen Kudlinski.

Jimmy’s Stars is a worthy addition to this list, the story of Ellie McKelvey whose adored older brother Jimmie is drafted and sent to Europe as a medic in 1944. Ms. Rodman evokes the time period well and tells the story of a girl who is sad and proud and angry all at the same time as she misses her big brother and wishes for him to come home.

Other reviews of Jimmy’s Stars:

Melissa at Book Nut: “The thing that carries this book from the beginning, is Ellie. She’s so real, so believable, so heart-breakingly hopeful that she literally leaps off the page and into your heart. You want her life to be okay, everything to go on as normal, and yet nothing can because of the war.”

Maw Books: “What made Jimmy’s Stars so great for me was the raw emotions that Ellie had. She really stepped right out of the pages of the book for me. I was also swept away into a different time and place as Mary Ann Rodman’s attention to historical accuracy and detail was superb.”

Looking Glass Review: “Packed with intimate details about life in America during World War II, this book will leave readers with a meaningful picture of what it was like to live through those very hard years.”

Enrichment activities for Jimmy’s Stars.

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