Selling Points: WWI, courage, conscientious objectors
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: Sep/01/2005
Fiction Ages 12+
A tall, broad man barked an order. Two soldiers grabbed a third by the arms and threw him from the truck. He staggered backwards and fell heavily in the mud and gravel of the drive. Hattie held her breath as he lay there for a few seconds. Then pushing himself up on his elbows, he turned to get up. Hattie, lifting her skirts, ran to find out what was going on.
Everything changes when Hattie Tamblyn's much-adored older brother, Will, enlists in the Canadian army in 1916 and is sent to fight in France. Hattie lives for Will's letters from the front, but her mother retreats into depression, her younger brother, Johnny, becomes violent and her father despairs of running the family farm without Will's help.
Tension mounts when Hattie's father hires a young conscientious objector to work on the farm. Although his wealthy Toronto family is mystified and disgusted by his decision not to fight, David Ross's friendship with an elderly German musician has led him to question the narrow notion of patriotism that has overtaken the country. His appearance at the Tamblyn farm enrages Hattie and Johnny, who, like most of their neighbors, believe all "conchies" are cowards.
As more and more of her childhood friends are maimed and killed overseas, Hattie fears for Will's safety. But when her own safety is threatened, it is David who protects her, putting himself squarely in harm's way. In a world gripped by prejudice, fear and hatred, David and Hattie discover that there are many kinds of courage and that real power lies in forgiveness and redemption.
The Muskokan - August 1, 2006
"A hugely timely novel for kids...A superb resource book."
NY PL - March 2, 2006
2006 New York Public Library's Books for the Teen Age list
CM Magazine - January 1, 2005
"Well written, has an interesting plot, believable characters, and it covers a variety of war related issues not always covered in fiction. Recommended."
CCBC Our Choice, commended
Golden Eagle Children's Choice nominee, short-listed
New York Public Library's Books for the Teen Age, commended
Tayshas List, commended
R. Ross Annett Award, winner