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Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two Paperback – July 6, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Paperback: 231 pages
  • Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (July 6, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142405965
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142405963
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5 Up–In the measured tones of a Native American storyteller, Bruchac assumes the persona of a Navajo grandfather telling his grandchildren about his World War II experiences. Protagonist Ned Begay starts with his early schooling at an Anglo boarding school, where the Navajo language is forbidden, and continues through his Marine career as a "code talker," explaining his long silence until "de-classified" in 1969. Begay's lifelong journey honors the Navajos and other Native Americans in the military, and fosters respect for their culture. Bruchac's gentle prose presents a clear historical picture of young men in wartime, island hopping across the Pacific, waging war in the hells of Guadalcanal, Bougainville, and Iwo Jima. Nonsensational and accurate, Bruchac's tale is quietly inspiring, even for those who have seen Windtalkers, or who have read such nonfiction works as Nathan Aaseng's Navajo Code Talkers (Walker, 1992), Kenji Kawano's Warriors: Navajo Code Talkers (Northland, 1990), or Deanne Durrett's Unsung Heroes of World War II: The Story of the Navajo Code Talkers (Facts On File, 1998). For those who've read none of the above, this is an eye-opener.–Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 6-9. Six-year-old Ned Begay leaves his Navajo home for boarding school, where he learns the English language and American ways. At 16, he enlists in the U.S. Marines during World War II and is trained as a code talker, using his native language to radio battlefield information and commands in a code that was kept secret until 1969. Rooted in his Navajo consciousness and traditions even in dealing with fear, loneliness, and the horrors of the battlefield, Ned tells of his experiences in Hawaii, Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Guam, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. The book, addressed to Ned's grandchildren, ends with an author's note about the code talkers as well as lengthy acknowledgments and a bibliography. The narrative pulls no punches about war's brutality and never adopts an avuncular tone. Not every section of the book is riveting, but slowly the succession of scenes, impressions, and remarks build to create a solid, memorable portrayal of Ned Begay. Even when facing complex negative forces within his own country, he is able to reach into his traditional culture to find answers that work for him in a modern context. Readers who choose the book for the attraction of Navajo code talking and the heat of battle will come away with more than they ever expected to find. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Joseph Bruchac is a highly acclaimed Abenaki children's book author, poet, novelist and storyteller, as well as a scholar of Native American culture. Coauthor with Michael Caduto of the bestselling Keepers of the Earth series, Bruchac's poems, articles and stories have appeared in over 500 publications, from Akwesasne Notes and American Poetry Review to National Geographic and Parabola. He has authored more than 50 books for adults and children. For more information about Joseph, please visit his website www.josephbruchac.com.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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My son and I both read this book!
Tommy or Michelle Shults
I recommend this book to people who like historical non-fiction (AKA history), and everybody who enjoys reading.
K. Bodnar
The storyline is fairly accurate to the real-life event that is told about in the novel.
Angel Haldeman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By G. Dinunzio on December 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
my son asked me to pick out a relatively short book from the library for his 8th grade book report. Code talker was it. After he raved about it, and spoke of some specifics, i read it myself before returning to the library. It is a beautifully told tale that intertwines the 'simple' english translation of a navajo language filled with spirituality, respect, honor, and a mythological belief in how things came to be.

How these Navajo marines came to become major players in WWII victory in the face of horrendous racially biased treatment at home is gripping. They were great american heroes, only to be treated like dirt upon their arrival home. Powerful, fascinating story that is impossible to put down.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Nana Dot on December 8, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not having the time to sit and read many hard copy books, I listen to audio books while I do my work around the house and garden. Like those who read the book of this title who said they couldn't put it down, I found that I hated to have to turn off the cassette recorder! I do think that I perhaps got more out of the story by listening to it, because I was able to hear the Navajo language spoken as it should be, rather than just reading the unfamiliar words and not knowing how they would actually sound. The Navajo language is both beautiful and seemingly impossible for a non-Navajo to pronounce! No wonder it made a perfect method for coding information! I recommend this to everyone, young and adult.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Glenn Miller on September 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
Bruchac has created a terrific historic novel that has enough action for young male adults and enough history and research to appeal to an adult audience. Bruchac does a wonderful job of giving a sense of the complexities of growing up on a Navajo reservation in the first half of the book. The irony of a nation trying to wipe out the Navajo language but using it as a crucial means of communication during 20th century wars should not be lost on the reader while reading the second half of the book. Bruchac's narrator tells this tale in an even-keeled, even-tempered manner. The reader is allowed to gain his own sense of injustice our nation has inflicted upon its Native American population. Bruchac's description of the progression of America's involvement in World War II's Pacific campaign is well laid-out and dramatically presented. Highly recommended.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on May 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
What did Navajo Indians do in World War 2? The title of my book is Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac. The main character is Kii Yazhi. He is forced to go to boarding school. From boarding school he heads off to war.

In the beginning of the story, he was forced to to leave his family and go to a school where they hated Navajo Indians. In the middle of the book, Kii was a code talker. Being a code talker he spoke the native language as a code in World War 2. To find out what happened to Kii, read the book.

The theme is Navajo Indians helped Americans in World War 2. This book reminded me of wars. Boys who like action will like this book.

B.C. in Annapolis
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
I suggest reading this book if you are interested in the Navajo Code Talkers. I would rate it as 4 out of 5. The book has somewhat of a language conflict, because of the different languages spoken. To completely understand the book, you will want to read it twice.

The book tells of a Navajo who was forced to learn English as a young child. He was assigned an English name and was never aloud to speak Navajo. As he aged and went through High School the Japanese were starting a war with the United States. Because the Japanese would intercept all of the Americans messages there was no way to communicate. The U.S. started to recruit Navajo's because of the language they spoke: Navajo.

The author tells us of his journey through WWII and his heroic story of courage and bravery while fighting to communicate with the "Main land". As the story progresses the author meets new friends and finds buddies from home. He describes war very thoroughly. He also describes the loss of a friend and how devastating it can be, especially during war.

There is a long introduction to the book (about 70 pages) in which reads very slowly. After you get past the beginning it is a page turner. I have recommended this book to my whole class because of the authors stunning ability to compel thoughts and emotions during war and hard times.

This is a short read with lots of interesting facts that have never been aloud to be spoken. The book would be considered Historical-Fiction because of its small amount of fictional content. I liked this book a lot and think that you would too. If you like anything to do with history, I would suggest that you read this book.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on September 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Code Talkers is a fantastic book. The author Joseph Bruchac really knows how to write a good book. When the main charector was growing up he was told he would be nothing. When he got out of boarding school he was on his way to being a big succes.

When he grew up he, he decided to do something with his life so he joined the Marines after Pearl Harbor was attacked. At that time the marines were looking for codetalkers Navajo codetalkers. The Marines attimatically sent him to the Pacific to start transmitting messages.
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