Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Day That Changed America: D-Day

A Day That Changed America: D-Day

Shelley Tanaka
Illustrator:  David Craig 
Nonfiction  Series
For ages 10 and up
Hyperion, 2004   ISBN: 978-0786818815

D-Day was in fact not just a day that changed America. It was also a day that changed World history, and the futures of all of us. In this exceptional book we get to see what D-Day was like for five remarkable young men and one woman. We also learn a great deal about the events that took place before, on, and after June 6th 1944.

Don Jakeway was a paratrooper who parachuted behind the enemy lines to help hold back the Germans when the landings were occurring on the beaches of Omaha, Utah, Gold, and Sword. Being a paratrooper was a difficult and extremely dangerous position. This was especially the case on D-Day because the paratroopers would be on their own once they were on the ground, without any backup of any sort until the landings took place some hours later.

In the air Quentin Aanenson was flying a P-47 bomber. His role was to drop bombs on German troops and defenses and hopefully giving the landing troops some breathing room when they arrived in a few hours.

Jackie Greer was Quentin's fiancée and she was determined to do all she could in the war effort on the home front. Jackie knew that Quentin was involved in the coming invasion and she did her best to keep busy and to write to Quentin as often as she could.

On Omaha beach Bob Giguere was in a landing craft facing the beach and being tossed about by the swell of the sea. The landing was nothing short of chaotic and dead and dying men floated and lay all about him. How were the American's going to get off the beach and move inland?

Jack Fox, on Utah, was getting to do his job. As a medic he had one of the most dangerous jobs in the army. Unarmed, the medics were always in the front lines and often exposed to the enemy. Jack must have wondered many times whether he was going to survive the carnage. Still, he kept on going, carrying his medical kit and ready for whatever was thrown at him.

We follow Jack and Bob as they make their way inland and see what they saw, their experiences coming alive as we read this remarkable book. Once again Shelley Tanaka takes us back in time to a momentous point in history and she gives us the opportunity to 'be there' in our minds and hearts. The accounts that make up the backbone of the book are often harrowing and disturbing, but that is the nature of war and to gloss it over is to do a disservice to those who were there.

In addition to the stories of the five men and one woman, there is an enormous amount of information about D-Day, the time that preceded it, some of the key players in the theatre of war, and numerous other details of both military and more personal interest. In addition the reader will find full color paintings throughout, photographs, and some excellent maps of the area that was under invasion by the allies.

This is truly a fit tribute to those who participated in D-Day in June of 1944.