Published by Albert Whitman and Co.
Summary: When 8-year-old Betoli left his home and family in 1929 to go to Fort Defiance School, his hair was cut, his name was changed to Chester, and he was made to speak English. If he spoke Navajo, his mouth was washed out with soap. He lived a double life through his school years, speaking Navajo and practicing his religion at home, and speaking English and practicing Catholicism at school. In April 1942, Marine recruiters came to the school looking for Navajo speakers to help them create a code the Japanese couldn’t break. Chester was one of 29 men who created the code, then went to the Pacific to serve as a Navajo Code Talker. He fought in the war until January 1945, when he came home, sick and traumatized by his military experience. Returning to his Navajo ways helped him to heal, and he went on to become an artist, living to the age of 93. Includes an author’s note, timeline, and the alphabet in the Navajo code. 32 pages; grades 2-5.
Pros: A fascinating biography of Chester Nez, that includes a history of the Navajo Code Talkers and touches on Indian schools and the trauma they inflicted on the students.
Cons: I would have liked to have seen a photo of Chester and/or other Code Talkers, so I give you this: