Attack on Pearl Harbor
Title: Attack on Pearl Harbor
Author: Shelley Tanaka
Illustrator: David Craig
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Publication Date: April, 2001
Genre/Format: Nonfiction/Informational text
Scholastic's Summary: As thirteen-year-old Peter Nottage stood in the yard, watching in disbelief, a group of Japanese fighter planes swooped down, spraying machine-gun fire across thee water. Then the first bomb dropped - and in minutes, Kaneohe Bay was a sea of smoke and flames. To the south, at Pearl Harbor, the huge ships of the American feet were ablaze. This was no drill. This was war!
Through vivid eyewitness accounts, Attack on Pearl Harbor re-creates the dramatic moments of the unforgettable day that America entered World War II.
What I Think: Shelley Tanaka does an amazing job of transporting the reader into the terror (for Americans) and excitement (for Japanese) of December 7, 1941 and the Pearl Harbor attack. Told from 4 different point of views, 2 American and 2 Japanese, the reader gets to see how all different types of people planned, dealt with and reacted to the attack. The perspectives range from an 11-year-old Hawaiian to the commander of the Japanese air attack. The book does a great job of not only being sequential, but alternating between the different points of view within the account. I love that a large amount of the story is from primary sources.
In addition to the text, the book has photographs, paintings, maps, and diagrams. The three additions to the text that I adored the most were two sidebars with primary accounts of the effects of Pearl Harbor on a Hawaiian girl and a Hawaiian of Japanese descent as well as a photograph of the first page of President Roosevent's speech with editing and revising completed on it. I also am glad that the author included an epilogue with "where are they now" as well as information about the Pearl Harbor memorial. Overall, a perfect book to learn about or extend knowledge on the Pearl Harbor attack.
Read Together: Grades 3 to 8
Read Alone: Grades 4 to 8
Read With: Nonfiction books on Pearl Harbor, Historical fiction books that include the attack on Pearl Harbor including the Adam Pelko series by Harry Mazer
Snatch of Text: "Wow, he thought. This was great. The Navy was holding maneuvers right before his eyes. Must be the resd team's planes against the blue team...
One of the planes dropped a bomb right on the ramp of the seaplane hangar, setting it on fire. Metal, concrete, and glass exploded from the ground.
Peter started. Had one of the Navy pilots gone crazy? Somebody was really going to get it for that.
And then one of the seaplanes anchored in the bay was hit, and it blew up in a burst of fire.
Kaneohe was suddenly a sea of smoke and flames. All the seaplanes seemed to be burning. Thick black smoke began to pour from one of the buildings. Alarms grayed...
Peter's mother flung open the door behind them. 'It's on the radio. It's war!' she shouted. 'Those are the Japanese! We're under attack!' And she grabbed Peter's arm and yanked him into the house." (p. 32, Peter Nottage's point of view)
Mentor Text for: Problem/Solution, Fact/Opinion, Text features, Point of view, Editing/Revising, Primary vs. Secondary sources, Prediction, Making connections, Background knowledge
Writing Prompts: The author chose to inform us about the Pearl Harbor attack from four different point of views. Please determine the point of views and analyze why you believe the author made the decision to pick these individuals to tell the story.
Topics Covered: Cross curricular- Pearl Harbor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Japanese military, Hawaiian bases, Internment camps
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