104 pages 3 hours read

Alan Gratz


Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2018

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Reading Context

Use these questions or activities to help gauge students’ familiarity with and spark their interest in the context of the work, giving them an entry point into the text itself.

Short Answer

1. During the 1930s and 1940s, the Allied and Axis powers fought World War II (WWII) across several regions, namely the “European theater” and the “Pacific theater.” Consider the differences between the armies in these theaters. Which Allied and Axis powers fought in Europe? Which ones fought in the Pacific? What was the overall outcome of both of these theaters of war?

Teaching Suggestion: This question orients students with the historical context of Gratz’s novel as well as the themes of The Might of the US War Machine and The Brutality of War. In Europe, the Allied powers of France, the Soviet Union, and the UK fought the Axis Nazi Germany and Italian forces. While the US also lent support to the European theater, it switched its military focus to the Pacific after the Axis power of Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in December 1941. For the following four years, the US focused on reducing the Japanese sphere of influence in the Pacific; this included the Japanese-controlled island of Okinawa. It may be helpful to introduce the novel by explaining that Gratz’s story begins on April 1, 1945, the day that the US lands on Okinawa.