Code Talkers

Author: Joseph Bruchac
Lexile Level: 910
Grade Level Equivalent: 6.4
My recommended reading age: 12 and up
Historical Fiction

Involved in a mission so secret that not even their fellow soldiers knew about it, the Navajo Marines played a crucial role during World War II...

After years of having having his native Navajo language beat into submission by white school teachers, suddenly Ned Begay finds that it is this very language which is necessary to help the United States defeat the Japanese.  Enlisting in the Marines at the age of 17, Ned is part of a secret team of code talkers that develop an unbreakable method of communication for transmitting messages during the war.  Ned finds himself in the middle of many bloody battles, and although he sees things which are too horrific to endure, he uses persevers and uses his sacred Navajo language in order to serve the American military, and provide a crucial key to victory for America.

In all of the reading I have done about World War II, I had never even heard of the Navajo code talkers before picking up this book.  I was amazed to learn about this amazing group of men who, after years of mistreatment and discrimination by the United States of America, stepped up to the plate and served their country with such commitment.  While this book is fiction, the events are based on experiences of many Navajo Marines who served, so it gave an accurate description of the code talkers' experience in the Pacific.  This is a war book, and there are details of battle and death, but nothing that offended me in the least. 


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