Parents' Guide to

Soldier's Heart: Being the Story of the Enlistment and Due Service of the Boy Charley Goddard in the First Minnesota Volunteers

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Vividly realistic depiction of war.

Soldier's Heart: Being the Story of the Enlistment and Due Service of the Boy Charley Goddard in the First Minnesota Volunteers Poster Image

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What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 1 parent review

age 10+

Great for a first novel of the Civil War

Paulsen nails it once more for books that are timely, interesting, and appealing to young people. Written from the viewpoint of a 14 year old going off to battle, there are graphic descriptions of several battles. However,the scenes are written in such a way that kids can move on through these scenes if they want. Wonderful for advanced 5th grade readers studying the Civil War more in depth.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (2 ):

Kids who, like Charley Goddard, think that war is a noble and exciting endeavor will find out otherwise in SOLDIER'S HEART. Gary Paulsen pulls no punches in depicting the physical, emotional, and psychological effects in this absorbing Civil War chronicle based on a true story. With his characteristic blunt and muscular prose, Paulsen strips away the illusions and the rose-colored filters, and shows readers the truth.

Unvarnished truth is Paulsen's weapon, and he wields it formidably in descriptions of battles so graphic and yet so moving that the reader doesn't know whether to shudder in revulsion or weep at the waste of it all. Amid the carnage and stupidity, perhaps most devastating of all is watching young Charley turn from boy to old, old man within just a few years. Parents should be prepared to discuss this book with their children: They will be disturbed -- and if they're not, or if they think it's cool, then even more discussion is necessary.

Book Details

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