Publication Date: February 6, 2024
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Ages 8 to 12, Grades 3 to 7
A new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Alan Gratz (Refugee; Ground Zero; Two Degrees) is a major publishing moment. A new World War II novel from Alan Gratz? That's even bigger! Get ready for an action-packed, inventive, and powerful take on the attack on Pearl Harbor, as only Alan Gratz can tell it.
December 6, 1941: Best friends Frank and Stanley have it good. Their dads are Navy pilots stationed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, and the boys get a front-row view of the huge battleships and the sparkling water. Yes, World War II is raging in Europe and in Asia, but the US isn't involved in the war, and the boys are free to dream about becoming comic book creators. They've even invented a superhero of their own, in the style of Batman, Superman, Captain America, and other stars of the Golden Age of Comics. Maybe they'll even get their comic published someday.
December 7th, 1941: Everything explodes.
That morning, Frank and Stanley are aboard the battleship the USS Utah when Japanese planes zoom overhead and begin dropping bombs on the ships below. Chaos ensues as everyone scrambles to dive for safety. Frank and Stanley realize what's happening: Japan is attacking America! The war has come to them.
As the boys fight to make their way home amidst the carnage, it's clear that everything has changed. Stanley's mother is Japanese American and he is suddenly facing a terrible prejudice that he's never known before--he's now seen as the "enemy," and Frank, who's white, cannot begin to understand what Stanley will now face. Can their friendship--and their dreams--survive this watershed moment in history?
Told with the immediacy, high-stakes action, and meaningful twists that have made Alan Gratz one of today's biggest authors, this gripping novel tackles themes of bravery, prejudice, and what it means to stand up for what's right. Just as Gratz's Ground Zero became a defining look at 9/11 for middle-grade readers, this book delivers a necessary and unputdownable take on a date that still lives in infamy.
Plus: The book ends with an all-original, 10-page black & white comic that brings to life the comic book idea that Frank and Stanley brainstorm in the novel. The comic is written by Alan Gratz and illustrated by Judit Tondora.
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