War Stories by Gordon Korman

Gordon Korman's books circulated nonstop in my former school library. Students always asked when Gordon's next book would be added to the library's catalog so they could be one of the first people to put it on hold.

You can tell your students Gordon Korman's War Stories comes out on July 21, 2020. Gordon dropped by to chat with me about Trevor Firestone, World War II, and school libraries. I wrote the words in purple, and he wrote the words in 
black. Thank you, Gordon! 

War Stories tells the story of seventh grader Trevor Firestone, whose 93-year-old great-grandfather, Jacob, fought in World War II. When Jacob is invited to return to France to be honored as the last surviving Allied veteran of the Battle of Ste. Régine, he invites Trevor and his father to accompany him. The book jumps back and forth between the trio’s adventure in the present day and the 1944 journey of then 17-year-old Jacob, who lied about his age to join the Army, landed on D-Day beaches, helped liberate Paris, and played a crucial role in the Battle of Ste. Régine. 

Trevor is obsessed with World War II. The fact that he has a direct connection to a real live war hero is mind-blowing to him. He plays World War II video games, devours books and movies on the subject, and spends countless hours assembling models of planes and tanks. Most of all, Trevor loves listening to his great-grandfather’s endless supply of action-packed, over-the-top war stories. 

Did you know World War II was the largest single event in human history? For that reason, just about everything about the conflict is a record-breaker. For example, the D-Day invasion fleet stands as the largest assemblage of ships ever. The movements of equipment and personnel have still never been exceeded. It’s easy to see how the war can captivate the imagination of a twelve-year-old boy. Yet as Private First Class Jacob Firestone sets foot on French soil, his entertaining stories become a lot more stark and real …

I hope War Stories helps readers confront the terrible human costs of war, while at the same time celebrating what is still considered the greatest multinational accomplishment ever – countries all around the world banding together to stand up to evil. 

School libraries are the places young readers discover who they are. One of the reasons I love being a middle-grade writer is that this is the time of life when kids first become fully in charge of their own opinions. The stories we choose to love as middle-graders will always stay with us.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about the timing of War Stories. This May 8 marks the 75th anniversary of V-E Day, commemorating the end of World War II in Europe. As the generation that won the war – Jacob Firestone’s generation – fades out of the picture, we must never forget the sacrifices they made to ensure our future!

Look for War Stories on July 21, 2020. 

There are two things Trevor loves more than anything else: playing war-based video games and his great-grandfather Jacob, who is a true-blue, bona fide war hero. At the height of the war, Jacob helped liberate a small French village, and was given a hero's welcome upon his return to America.

Now it's decades later, and Jacob wants to retrace the steps he took during the war -- from training to invasion to the village he is said to have saved. Trevor thinks this is the coolest idea ever. But as they get to the village, Trevor discovers there's more to the story than what he's heard his whole life, causing him to wonder about his great-grandfather's heroism, the truth about the battle he fought, and importance of genuine valor.


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