A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that War Stories, by bestselling author Gordon Korman, is the story of Trevor Firestone, a 12-year-old obsessed with World War II, and his 93-year-old great-grandfather Jacob, known as G.G., who was a 17-year-old infantryman at the time of D-Day and is now a war hero. Trevor's dad worries about his son's fondness for video-game mayhem and destruction, fueled by Jacob's stories. He also worries that, as the family heads to France for a ceremony honoring the old man, things may not be quite what they seem, and somebody's posting a lot of threats on Facebook. As the present-day Firestones revisit boot camp and then head to Europe, G.G.'s recollections bring the whole experience to life: the moments of heroic triumph, as well as lots of loss, hardship, and latrine humor. The story is packed with local color, historic detail, and lots of empathy about how epic events actually felt to people at the time.
What's the story?
Twelve-year-old Trevor Firestone adores his 93-year-old great-grandfather Jacob, a decorated World War II veteran who tells a lot of WAR STORIES. Trevor plasters his room with combat posters and spends all his time blowing up armaments and buildings in video games based on the conflict. When word comes that the French village once liberated by Jacob's unit wants to honor him at a ceremony, Trevor is in heaven over the chance to revisit the sites of all these exploits. As they make their way from boot camp through training bases and the Normandy countryside, Jacob's recollections bring the past (sometimes heroic, sometimes just stupid and gross) to life. Meanwhile, though, Trevor's dad is worried, because somebody who doesn't seem to share their enthusiasm is posting nasty remarks and threats on the village's Facebook page.
Is it any good?
Master storyteller Gordon Korman packs a lot of history and wisdom into this nuanced tale of battle, memory, and family. There's more to war than blowing up buildings and bad guys, as 12-year-old Trevor discovers when he revisits D-Day, on location, with his great-grandfather, a decorated veteran. War Stories offers alternating chapters of Jacob Firestone, 17-year-old infantryman trying to survive and also beat Hitler, and of Trevor's impressions as the family makes its way through Normandy and he learns about a lot of tragedy, loss, and foolishness that happened right along with the heroics.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about World War II and its effects on the lives of people caught up in it. How does War Stories compare with other stories you know about that era? Does it give you a different view of those events?
Have you ever heard a story of events you've actually lived through -- and found that it's very different from your own experience? How does that make you feel?
Do you have family members who had interesting adventures in the past? What did they do? Do you think you'd like to do the same things, or are you happy to avoid the whole experience?
- Author: Gordon Korman
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, History
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Scholastic
- Publication date: July 21, 2020
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 240
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: September 14, 2020
Our editors recommend
For kids who love World War II stories and coming-of-age tales
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