Monday, October 6, 2014

Review: Courage Has No Color

Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles, America's First Black Paratroopers
By Tanya Lee Stone
Published 2013 by Candlewick Press

As World War II rages overseas, on the home front, black soldiers are still segregated from white soldiers. Stone sets out to tell the story of one battalion that sets out to prove they can be strong soldiers just as well as their white counterparts.

This was one of the last library books I picked up before I started my year of no library books. I'd been hearing about this book for quite some time and, though I'm generally interested in non-fiction, it's never really a priority of mine. As such, I don't read nearly as much as I'd like to. I really should take the time to read more, though, particularly as most of my experiences with non-fiction for youth have been quite positive. This book is no exception.

Stone does a great job showcasing the history of segregation in the armed forces, focusing her story on the Triple Nickles, the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, during World War II. While young readers today will surely be familiar with the idea of segregation, they might not realize precisely how pervasive and all-encompassing it was. By focusing on one story in history, Stone shines a light on the bigger picture.

Stone tells the story of the Triple Nickles in an engaging fashion, introducing the major players that led to their development and their personal stories. As with many juvenile non-fiction books, I was surprised to learn things I'd never known before - the story of the Japanese balloon bombs was particularly disheartening to be discovering only now. If I, as an adult with allegedly more knowledge, find myself fascinated by what I can learn from a well-written and engaging title such as this, think of what this could unlock for the right young reader.

Layout and back matter are well-done here, though there were a few instances where I felt like better choices could have been made in the layout of pictures and section divisions. I was not surprised to see this book a finalist for the Excellent in Nonfiction Award and I will gladly be recommending this to readers looking for interesting history books.

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