Week 1: Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers Read-a-Long

Today is week 1 of our group read-a-long of Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers.  This week we read pages 1-86, and we hope you’ll leave your comments and/or answers to the questions after the post.

We welcome you to post your thoughts on your blog and provide a link or just type your thoughts in the comments section of the discussion post; whatever works best for you. You can answer our questions or just discuss whatever you found most interesting in each section.

***Beware of spoilers***

1.  What are your first impressions of Robin “Birdy” Perry?

S:  So far, I like Birdy.  He’s amped up, but not overly so.  He’s aware that war changes people, like his uncle, but he’s also aware that he was to contribute to society.  While he’s a little unsure of his place in the army and feeling unprepared for the realities of war, he’s adjusting on the fly and trying to make the most of it.  It’s clear he’s gone through the training, but I don’t think he feels prepared enough.

2.  Civilian Affairs Battalion is expected to help the Iraqi people rebuild democracy.  What do you think about that mission — realistic, too idealistic, or a combination?

S:  I love the idea of being able to help a people rebuild after the elimination of a dictatorship, but when you’re also doing the ousting, it’s a little difficult to separate the two missions, especially when the people rarely, if ever, speak English or even have common goals.  I think at best its an ideal, but at worst its a delusion that will quickly unravel.

3. How realistic do you find the characters initial interactions with each other and their reactions to what goes on around them?

S:  I’m enjoying the enigmatic Jonesy for his blues and his connection to religion, while I’m also very engaged by the tough girl, Marla Kennedy.  It seems like Jonesy’s trying to be aloof and tough, not trying to get too attached, but he’s taken sort of an instant liking to Birdy.  Meanwhile, Birdy cannot seem to make out Marla or Jonesy’s motives or personalities yet, which is probably the nature of war and how it makes people want to remain as removed from others as possible to avoid the unavoidable loss they will feel if someone dies.  So far, the interactions between the characters are believable given the situation and what’s expected of them.  I really enjoy how Myers pinpoints reactions with body language as well as dialogue, like when Jonesy’s hand is twitching and Birdy’s just staring at the dead boy.

If you have discussion questions for the first section, we’d love to hear them.  Post here or on your own blog.  We’d love to read your thoughts….

February Read-a-Long of Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers

As part of the War Through The Generations 2014 Reading Challenge with a Twist, we’ll be hosting a read-a-long for the Gulf Wars (Gulf War/Operation Desert Storm and Iraq War/Operation Iraqi Freedom).

In February, we’ll be reading Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers, which is about Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Discussion questions will be posted on Friday for the designated chapters.  As there are no chapter numbers, we’ll have to use approximate page numbers.

Here’s the reading schedule and discussion dates:

  • Friday, Feb. 7:  Pgs. 1-86 (ends with “I don’t mind, though.”
  • Friday, Feb. 14: Pgs. 87-152 (begins with “April 12, 2003″; ends with “nothing over here.”)
  • Friday, Feb. 21: Pgs. 153-214 (begins with “Sergeant Harris and Jonesy got” and ends with “toothpaste to the Iraqis.”)
  • Friday, Feb.  28:  Pgs. 215-end (begins with “A tribal leader”)

We hope you’ll be joining us next month for our Gulf Wars read-a-long.

Read-a-Longs for 2014 War Challenge

Since readers can read any of the war categories throughout the year, we thought it would be additional fun to host several read-a-longs.

In February, we’ll be hosting a read-a-long for Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers for the Gulf Wars (this one is about Operation Iraqi Freedom).  SCHEDULE TBD SOON.

In April, we’ll be hosting a read-a-long for the French and Indian War with I Am Regina by Sally M. Keehn.  SCHEDULE released in March.

In June, we’ll be hosting a read-a-long for the Korean War, with War Babies by Frederick Busch.  SCHEDULE released in May.

In August for the 100th anniversary of WWI, we’ll be hosting a read-a-long of Stella Bain by Antia Shreve.  SCHEDULE released in July.

In October, we’ll be hosting a read-a-long of The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter for WWII.  SCHEDULE released in September.

In December, for the Vietnam War, we’ll be hosting a read-a-long for Going After Cacciato by Tim O’Brien.  SCHEDULE released in November.

We hope that you’ll be joining us for at least one or more of these read-a-longs in 2014.

Gulf Wars (Gulf War/Operation Desert Storm and Iraq War/Operation Iraqi Freedom) Review Linky

It is the start of the 2014 War Through the Generations Reading Challenge With a Twist. For January and February, reviews for the Gulf Wars should be linked here.

To be clear, you don’t have to read just Gulf War books now, but any of the books that fit the war categories.  We’ll just be posting the linkies for the reviews in the months we designated here.

Welcome to the Gulf Wars (Gulf War/Operation Desert Storm and Iraq War/Operation Iraqi Freedom) Reviews linky for Jan./Feb.:

American Revolution Reading Challenge Wrap Up

Happy New Year, and thanks to everyone who participated in the American Revolution Reading Challenge in 2013.  Here are the last of the participant reviews.  If we’ve missed any reviews throughout the year, please feel free to link to them in the comments.

Before we shift to the reviews, we want to invite you all to participate in the 2014 challenge, which we’re doing a bit differently this year.  For all the details and to sign up, click here.

Under The Boardwalka8349-theturncoat reviewed The Turncoat by Donna Thorland:

A suspenseful thrill ride that takes place during the winter of 1777. A wonderful debut I couldn’t put down. I look forward to the next book in the Renegades of the Revolution series.

felicityThe Children’s War reviewed the movie Felicity, An American Girl:

There are lots of historical elements in Felicity besides being an engaging coming of age story.  The two sides, patriot and loyalist, are explained clearly in the context of the story so that young viewers will have no trouble understanding the events that led to the American Revolution.  And in keeping with the themes of freedom, independence, and responsibility, the practice of apprenticeship is also clearly presented.

friends of libertyThe Children’s War also reviewed Friends of Liberty by Bernice Gormley:

As a historical novel, there is lots of information about the political unrest in Boston, though I think it presupposes some knowledge of the time period.  I believe that Friends of Liberty would, however, be a good companion book to read while studying the events leading up the the American Revolution.

3d5fd-aprilmorningScrappy Cat reviewed April Morning by Howard Fast:

When a horseman comes through to let the town know that the British are on the march, Adam signs the muster book and joins the battle.  He must grow up literally overnight.  The book is very well written and I rate it 4 out of 5.

johnny tremainBooks and Movies reviewed Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes:

I remember reading this as a kid, and when I assigned it to Jonathan for literature this year, I knew I would read it, too. I wanted to revisit it, as well as show Jonathan that I didn’t just assign him books that I wouldn’t enjoy reading myself. Also, it fit into the War Through the Generations Challenge. Anyway, I enjoyed it, but didn’t love it as much as I remembered as a kid.

pox partyScrappy Cat also reviewed The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing by M.T. Anderson:

I never knew before reading this book that slaves fought in the Revolutionary War in lieu of their masters; this was quite shocking to me.  I thought the book was well written and I rate it 4 out of 5.

chains Diary of an Eccentric reviewed Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson:

Anderson’s novel is geared toward middle-grade readers, but there is much for adults to admire as well.  The passages from relevant historical documents at the beginning of every chapter were informative and paved the way for further research.  Anderson doesn’t sugar-coat the cruelties of slavery and war, but she doesn’t go overboard with graphic descriptions either.

the declaration of independenceImpressions In Ink “reviewed” The Declaration of Independence & The Constitution of the United States:

To review the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States seems redundant; instead, this post will be on how I feel about an amendment that is often in the news. … People who dislike reading would be attracted to this tiny book. I make this assessment because browsing the book store or shopping on Amazon, a reader would be inclined to find a lengthier book on the subject of important American documents.We may not “agree” with what people say, but thank goodness for the founding fathers, important American documents (which include our “freedom of speech.”)

masqueradeAnnie’s Book Reviews reviewed Masquerade: The Life & Times of Deborah Sampson, Continental Soldier by Alfred F. Young:

Honestly, I was dreading reading this book. Not because of the premise, it sounded like a great story, but because there is a general perception that such non-fiction historical works can be rather dryly written, uninspiring and quite boring to read. I was very much surprised to find the complete opposite. This is a fantastically enjoyable book, Youngs enthusiasm for his subject and the details of the period are infectious, entertaining and inspiring.

winter of red snowJayne’s Books reviewed The Winter of Red Snow by Kristiana Gregory:

I like how the author put enough facts into the book to make the reader intrigued to further research, if they are interested in such a thing, but also put enough fiction so that the reader can actually enjoy the story.  It also is fairly clean enough, with the exception of a few scenes in which there are some amputations, etc, but nothing too graphic, to parents not worry about the content of this particular series.

revolutionary mothersBookworm’s Dinner reviewed Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for American Independence by Carol Berkin:

Whether the women were involved in actually fighting, which they were or travelling along side their spouse, women of all races had numerous roles to satisfy.  Chapters detail the various roles women played in Colonial Society and during and after the war. There were those who were left home, others who followed, some were General’s wives, or loyalists in exile, Indian Women, African American Women and many women became spies or couriers.

forgotten patriotsBookworm’s Dinner also reviewed Forgotten Patriots: An Untold Story of American Prisoners During the Revolutionary War by Edwin G. Burrows:

This is a part of American History that missed the textbooks in school. It was a surprise to me. Perhaps if you live in the area of New York and New Jersey, you are aware of this unspeakable part of history.  Truly, it really has been forgotten. It took over one hundred years to dedicate a monument to these patriots.

Thanks to all the readers who made this challenge a success!



2014 War Challenge With a Twist

2014 is fast approaching.  Here at War Through the Generations, we decided to mix things up a bit.

Check out the details on the 2014 challenge page.

Celebrate Veterans Today.


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