Book Review: Don’t You Know There’s a War On? by Avi

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Don’t You Know There’s a War On?

by Avi


The award-winning author of Crispin: The Cross of Lead comes through with another moving, historical novel for young readers. This one takes place in 1943 Brooklyn, when everyone’s Dad was fighting in World War II and everyone’s Mom seemed to be Rosie the Riveter, and they had rationing, and blackouts, and war stamps, and collecting, and newsreels and serials that the kids watched at the movie house on Saturday mornings.

For best friends Denny and Howie, one of the things that keeps them going during these hard times is their crush on their fifth-grade teacher, Miss Gossim. Only when Howie is playing at being a “junior G-man,” he accidentally finds out that his favorite teacher is about to be fired. And as he continues his snooping around, he learns the awful, unfair reason for it. But what can a few kids do about it?

Told in the speaking style of a grammatically unpolished, 1940s Brooklyn boy, this is another charming story that will make you laugh, think, and maybe cry. It’s also an interesting glimpse into a moment in time that your grandparents may have lived through, when radio ruled, and headlines like “To Save Gas, States Asked to Keep 35-Mile Speed” thrilled readers. If you like a simple story well told, here’s one you’ll enjoy.