October 30, 2009

Friday's For the Guys

Everything Friday I highlight books and authors that are ones boys might really enjoy. I'm not saying girls wouldn't read these books, but they are clearly "guy" books. This Friday I'm highlighting:

Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers

Walter Dean Myers is one of my favorite authors for young adults - and an awesome one for boys.  Rarely do I have a student read one of his books and not like it.  In my opinion he is one of the hidden treasures in YA and MG.  More people should be reading his work. 
From Barnes and Noble
A coming-of-age tale for young adults set in the trenches of the Vietnam War in the late 1960s, this is the story of Perry, a Harlem teenager who volunteers for the service when his dream of attending college falls through. Sent to the front lines, Perry and his platoon come face-to-face with the Vietcong and the real horror of warfare. But violence and death aren't the only hardships. As Perry struggles to find virtue in himself and his comrades, he questions why black troops are given the most dangerous assignments, and why the U.S. is there at all.

I read this book several years ago and remember just loving it.  The battle scenes were very realistic as well as the actions of the young men in Perry's platoon.  Although I had no background in common with them, Myers wrote such a powerful story that I felt and understood all their anger, grief, disbelief and frustration.  At the same time I gained an understanding of what the soldiers went through in Vietnam - and more specifically African American soldiers.  It is a book I have recommended time and time to boys.  They always love it.  I do warn all of my students that this book is a realistic portrail of battle.  It contains graphic scenes and a lot of swearing.  If either of those things bother them, they shouldn't read it. 
Side note: In 2008 Myers released Sunrise Over Fallujah.  It isn't a sequel in a traditional sense, but it is very similar to Fallen Angels.  And like Fallen Angels - boys love it. 

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