Memorial Day: A Booklist

It’s Memorial Day, a day to consider and appreciate the sacrifices and struggles of those who came before us.

You can choose to think of this as a day dedicated to memorializing the generations of military and militia that fought and frequently died for their country. You can choose to pay your respects to the men and women of the Civil Rights Movement or the Feminist Movement or the Gay Rights Movement–those who also fought and frequently died for their cause.

You might spend this day at a parade or you might want to spend some time alone in quiet contemplation.

Whomever you choose to honor, and however you choose to pay homage, a great way to learn from history and the people who’ve made history is to bear witness to their stories. Here are ten books that give you a glimpse into the lives of warriors, both on and off the battlefield.

Honor your fallen heroes, whomever they may be

Velvet UndercoverVelvet Undercover
By Teri Brown
Place a hold.

A World War I era spy novel about a bright British girl who is sent undercover into the heart of enemy territory to rescue Britain’s most valuable (and secret) spy.

Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War TwoCode Talker
By Joseph Bruchac
Place a hold.

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.

All the Broken PiecesAll the Broken Pieces
By Ann E. Burg
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Two years after being airlifted out of Vietnam in 1975, Matt Pin is haunted by the terrible secret he left behind and, now, in a loving adoptive home in the United States, a series of profound events forces him to confront his past.

Either the Beginning or the End of the WorldEither the Beginning or the End of the War
By Terry Farish
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Sofie, sixteen, lives alone with her father, a Scottish fisherman, on New Hampshire’s coast and is not prepared for the return of her pregnant mother, a Cambodian immigrant, or for the forbidden relationship she has begun with a young Army medic back from Afghanistan.

If I Ever Get Out of HereIf I Ever Get Out of Here
By Eric Gansworth
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Seventh-grader Lewis “Shoe” Blake from the Tuscarora Reservation has a new friend, George Haddonfield from the local Air Force base, but in 1975 upstate New York there is a lot of tension and hatred between Native Americans and Whites–and Lewis is not sure that he can rely on friendship.

By Heath Gibson
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Georgia high school junior J.T. relies on the discipline of the Reserve Officer Training Corps to cope with grief, life in foster care and his physical limitations, as well as to prove himself to his mother, dead in a car crash, and his father, a soldier killed in Desert Storm.

By Dean Hughes
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Forced into an internment camp at the start of World War II, eighteen-year-old Yuki enlists in the Army to fight for the Allies as a member of the “Four-Four-Two,” a segregated Japanese American regiment.

Sunrise Over FallujahSunrise Over Fallujah
By Walter Dean Myers
Place a hold.

Robin Perry, from Harlem, is sent to Iraq in 2003 as a member of the Civilian Affairs Battalion, and his time there profoundly changes him.

Salt to the SeaSalt to the Sea
By Ruta Sepetys
Place a hold.

As World War II draws to a close, refugees try to escape the war’s final dangers, only to find themselves aboard a ship with a target on its hull.

By Sherri L. Smith
Place a hold.

During World War II, a light-skinned African American girl “passes” for white in order to join the Women Airforce Service Pilots.




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