Billie has lived with her great-aunt, doff, ever since her mom passed away and her dad left. Billie’s big brother, Leo, is about to leave, too, for the warfront. But first, she gets one more weekend with him at the ranch.
Billie’s disappointed when Leo brings home his friend Denny, a fellow Marine, from boot camp. She has so much to ask Leo—about losing her best friend and trying to find her father—but Denny, who is Navajo, or Diné, comes with something special: a gorgeous, but injured, stray dog. As Billie cares for the dog, whom they name Bear, she and Bear grow deeply attached to each other.
Soon enough, it’s time for both Leo and Denny, who serves as a Navajo Code Talker, to ship out. Billie does her part for the war effort, but she worries whether Leo and Denny will make it home, whether she’ll find a new friend, and if her father will ever come back. Can Bear help Billie – and Denny – discover what’s most important?
This book is beautifully written, a moving tribute to the Navajo Code Talkers.
With background research, including interviews with Navajo code talkers, and a knack for generating a heartwarming, genuine story, Larson seamlessly weaves the lives of the characters into the fabric of the 1944-45 home front setting.
A story of loneliness, loss, friendship, and identity.
World War II continues to be a topic that fascinates young readers, and Code Word Courage will keep those obsessed with the era reading happily.
The dog did not want to leave the vehicle. Did not want to follow the man. But the rope prevented any other option.
“Pa!” a voice cried form the backseat. “Pa! Don’t. Please don’t.”
The dog whined to hear his boy so upset. As soon as the man loosened the rope from his neck, he scrambled to return to the car.
The man raised his arm. Hollered. “Git!” He pelted the dog with rocks scooped up from the highway shoulder.
Too many of the sharp edges found their marks. And then a large stone cracked something in his side. Try as he might, the dog could no longer stand his ground. Panting to ease the pain, he limped out of range.
A door slammed, then the vehicle sped down the highway. The dog struggled to follow. But his legs gave way and he collapsed in the dirt. He didn’t try to get up again.
Without his boy, there was no point.
For great information on how kids pitched in for the war effort, visit the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. . .virtually!