Sunrise Over Fallujah

Common Sense Media says

Realistic, nonpolitical view of the war in Iraq.





What parents need to know


Given the subject, it's milder than you might expect, but there are some gruesome moments and descriptions: body parts, heads exploding, pink mists of blood, deaths, bombings, shootings, bloody injuries, pieces of flesh, amputees. A female soldier is nearly raped.


Men talk about wanting horny girls, imagining them with no pants; a reference to "making love."


A bit of swearing: "damn," "balls," "s--t."


Dunkin' Donuts and Coke mentioned.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Beer drinking, cigars.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a book about the realities of the Iraq war. It takes no political positions, and though the violence and swearing are considerably less than they might have been, given the subject, there is still a bit of swearing and some gruesome descriptions of violence -- heads exploding and pieces of flesh. Also, a female soldier is nearly raped.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Robin, a young man from Harlem (and nephew to Richie, the soldier from the author's Fallen Angels), enlists in the army after 9/11, much to his father's angry disapproval. He is sent to Iraq as part of a Civilian Affairs unit, which is supposed to follow the fighting troops and help win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. But in the confusion of this difficult situation, Robin finds himself in combat as often as in talks.

Is it any good?


Writing about the reality of a current conflict for children, or even young adults, is of necessity a balancing act -- how much to show, how far to go, in accurate depictions of horrific events. Veteran author Walter Dean Myers walks that fine line about as perfectly as it can be done. He doesn't pull his punches, but neither does he go overboard. He has just enough violence and swearing to keep it realistic without wallowing in them, and thereby gives about as accurate a picture of the fog of war in this particularly foggy war as one can give to children.

He does this, in part, by keeping some emotional distance between the readers and the characters. The book is moving, but the reader never gets to know the characters well enough to be truly shattered by the things that happen to them. Again, a balance -- there's just enough emotional involvement, but not too much. And he shows the boredom and the humor that are just as much a part of army life as violence and death, even in a war zone. So far there have been very few books for young adults about this ongoing conflict, but this is one that does the job admirably.

From the Book:
I didn't know if I had the same will to win as the guy from the 3rd. What I did know was that I wanted to do my part. The officers let us sit around and talk up the war and I thought that they did it on purpose. It was like being in a locker room before the big game.

"I seen a 240 take a guy's leg off from a hundred yards," a big-headed corporal said. "The whole leg came off and the sucker was just laying on the ground, looking at his leg as he died."

I felt a little sick.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the Iraq war and its coverage in the press. What are your opinions about it? Did this book change the way you think about it? After seeing coverage of the war in the media, did this book surprise you? Do you think the coverage has been accurate? If the book gives you one picture of the war, and the news another, how do you reconcile the two pictures?

Book details

Author:Walter Dean Myers
Genre:Contemporary Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Scholastic Inc.
Publication date:April 1, 2008
Number of pages:290
Publisher's recommended age(s):14
Read aloud:13
Read alone:13

This review of Sunrise Over Fallujah was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 16 years old Written bynUkeBomB October 28, 2010

Perfect book for 11 and up.

Im reading this book and is a great book. its a war book about how to handle it out there in Iraq. it has some language like s-it and d-mn but it does mention making love and a comment do you want to do it. i love this book and so will people 11 and up.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 14 years old Written bycoolguyiscoolbro June 8, 2010
really good book. if a movie: Rated PG-13 for sequences of war violence, disturbing imagery, language, and some sexual references
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 14 years old Written bycoolmandudeyeah May 30, 2010

good book

this is a pretty good war/drama with some intense action violence
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing


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