Ideas for Learners Promoting Literacy, Inquiry, and Meaningful Learning Experiences
I Survived . . . The Bombing of Pearl Harbor
by Lauren Tarshis


Book Summary

Danny and his mother move from New York to Hawaii right before Pearl Harbor is attacked.  What would it be like to live through that part of history?

I Survived the Bombing of Pearl Harbor book cover
I Survived the Bombing of Pearl Harbor

Book Review

This book is part of a series by the same author.  It is simplistic, with 86 pages, fairly short sentences, and a linear series of events. Although it is not highly literary, the writing is acceptable and appropriate; better than some of the cringe-worthy products sometimes found in non-fiction books for younger readers. Most readers would find it interesting, some would find it highly appealing, and it is easily accessible to reluctant readers in upper grades. The end of the book includes a few pages of questions and answers about Pearl Harbor, including a timeline of the attack and other books on the same topic.

While there are references to a number of disturbing events, and Danny witnesses the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the treatment of these plot points holds student interest without being graphic fodder for student nightmares. Danny befriends a Japanese family before the attack, and there are references to Japanese Americans being jailed as suspected spies. Although advanced second grade readers could comprehend this book, there are some references that older students are more prepared to handle (a character is a gang member in New York; a friend falls from a broken fire escape). The book retains a positive message overall and offers a basic introduction to the events of December 7, 1941 from a U.S. perspective.

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  Through a curtain of smoke across the harbor, Danny could see planes pummeling the battleships, flying low, firing their guns, then circling back for another attack." p. 49

Topics and Themes for this book:

  • U.S. and Japanese Involvement in WWII
  • Moving to a New Place
  • Treatment of Japanese-Americans during and after WWII
  • The Bombing of Pearl Harbor
  • Keeping a Clear Head During a Crisis

Discussion Questions for this book:

The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.

**Questions coming soon**

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