Published by Scholastic
Summary: Joe is off to England from Cleveland, Ohio, having been drafted to fight in World War II. His younger brother Charlie slips a letter into his bag before he leaves, and this begins a correspondence between the two brothers that lasts from June 6, 1942 until August 2, 1944. Only the first and last letters are from Charlie, although others are alluded to as Joe writes home about his war experiences. Although Charlie’s always looked up to Joe, Joe doesn’t see himself as a hero, just an ordinary guy struggling to survive in extremely difficult conditions. Training, dealing with a bully in his unit, capturing a spy, and a (sort of) failed mission are all detailed in his letters, which lead up to the climax of D-Day on June 6, 1944. The final letter is Charlie’s, telling Joe how his courage helped Charlie deal with a bully at home. An author’s note gives a little more background on Joe’s mission and the history recounted in soldiers’ letters home during World War II. 112 pages; grades 2-5.
Pros: A good introduction to World War II for younger readers, with likeable characters, inspiring courage, and some adventure, but not too much gory detail.
Cons: Joe’s mission, which seems to have taken a couple days, takes him almost five months to describe in his letters.