Thursday, September 16, 2010

BBAW: Forgotten Treasure

Today's blog topic for Book Blogger Appreciation Week is: Forgotten Treasure
Sure we’ve all read about Freedom and Mockingjay but we likely have a book we wish would get more attention by book bloggers, whether it’s a forgotten classic or under marketed contemporary fiction.  This is your chance to tell the community why they should consider reading this book!
 I am going to choose a book that may or may not have been completely forgotten by those who love great historical fiction of the YA persuasion. I teach it every year in summer school and get to fall in love with it all over again. It's something that I look forward to.

 The book that I so look forward to teaching is called I Had Seen Castles and it's by the amazing Cynthia Rylant. It's just plain beautiful. It takes place in two time periods: The 1940's and the present.

It's the story of a young boy named Johnny who desperately wants to enter into WWII after the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor. Like many others during this confusing time, he feels an urgency to fight for his country that overwhelms his ability to understand that war is about glory and honor. It's about seeing people die and killing. It's about going hungry and being cold. It's about losing friends and feeling the need get revenge. It's about seeing innocent people suffer the consequences of an international battle. It's brutal.

In the present, Johnny is an old man. He lives in Canada, because it was too hard to come back to the US after all he'd experienced in the war. He is happy, but it's a sort of muted happiness. It feels realistic, given the way that many WWII veterans do not discuss their memories of the war. There's a certain silence among older vets. Johnny is like this.

This is a beautiful story. It's rich and complex and vivid and poetic and it's only a little over a hundred pages. I highly recommend that more people read it. Because I love it. Thanks for listening!


  1. This sounds like a wonderful book. My grandfather was a wwII vet and he never talked about his experience.

  2. I've never heard of this, but it sounds great! I like Cynthia Rylant, so this is totally going on the list :-)

  3. I've heard of Cynthia Rylant but not this title in particular. It sounds really excellent. One more for the wish list!

  4. Thanks for presenting this book. I have a student this year who really like book about the military and reading war stories. I will tell him about this book, it sound awesome.

  5. I've never heard of this author or this book, so thanks for spotlighting them!



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