Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Early Sunday Morning: The Pearl Harbor Diary of Amber Billows, Hawaii 1941

Early Sunday Morning: The Pearl Harbor Diary of Amber Billows, Hawaii 1941

Barry Denenberg
Historical Fiction  Series
For ages 12 to and up
Scholastic, 2001   ISBN: 978-0439328746

Amber and her family are moving again and no one is particularly happy about it. Amber’s father is a journalist and he has to frequently move for his work. This time it is as if they are going to a whole different country for they are moving to Hawaii, an island that is so far away and that is so unlike any other place that they have been to.

It isn’t long before Amber is getting used to her new home. She even makes a new friend, a Japanese American girl called Kame who is very like Amber in many ways though their cultural backgrounds are so different. Amber and her family hear talk and rumors about a possible attack on Hawaii by the Japanese but for the most part no one really believes that such a thing could happen.

Then the unbelievable does occur and Amber and her mother find themselves working in a hospital trying to save the lives of people injured by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In just a short while Amber’s whole life has been turned upside down and things can never go back to the way they were.

With a wonderful sense of humor Amber tells her story in such a way that we can almost hear her voice and see her face. She becomes terribly real and we share her life, her worries, and her thoughts. This is a girl whose "greatest fear in life" is being bored. How poignant it is that this fear is dispelled in just a fraction of a moment when an even greater fear enters her life: fearing for her own and her family’s survival.

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