A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Instead of a storyline populated with facts (how many Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor and which ships were destroyed or any of the preparations leading up to the bombing of Hiroshima), readers will learn about these two pivotal events in the history of World War II through the stories of young people and children whose lives and futures were forever changed.
Honoring the past and the sacrifices of those who came before us can help us work toward a better and more peaceful future.
Positive Role Models
There are none of the expected heroes or heroines in this wartime story. Instead, there are young men from small towns who join the Navy or the Marines, making their families (and themselves) proud. Twelve men flying a plane that would drop a bomb more destructive than anyone could have ever imagined. And high school girls excited to have been given the responsibility of operating the trams running in Hiroshima.
Violence & Scariness
While Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima were terrifying events that killed and maimed thousands of people, the author relates the horror of those days in a very few simply told and never graphic sentences. At Pearl Harbor, scorched men are pulled from the burning USS Arizona and sailors are charred by flaming oil. A young boy in Hiroshima is found dead still gripping his tricycle's handlebars and people are vaporized by the explosion.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Lois Lowry's On the Horizon is both a memoir and a history told simply and briefly (only 80 pages) in free verse. She remembers a childhood living in Hawaii at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and writes of the young men who died during that attack. And she writes of the dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima, Japan; of the crew of the plane that would drop the bomb and the children who would perish. Her memories of living in Japan shortly after the end of World War II provide a haunting bridge between the two attacks. While both events were unspeakably violent, Lowry's poetry recounts the horror of those days (scorched men pulled from the burning USS Arizona, sailors charred by flaming oil, and a young boy in Hiroshima who dies gripping his tricycle's handlebars) in very few, never graphic sentences that are age appropriate. Lowry is a two- time Newberry Medal winner (Number the Stars and The Giver).
Is It Any Good?
Lowry's poetic recounting of two pivotal and tragic events in World War II is heartbreaking, haunting, and powerful in its simplicity. The vividly told stories of real young people and children in On the Horizon promises to captivate even readers reluctant to pick up a history book, much less one written in free verse.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.