First sentence: Dear Joe, If there wasn't a war on, you'd kill me for this. I know I'm not supposed to touch your stuff without asking.
Premise/plot: Brave Like My Brother is an epistolary novel for young readers featuring an exchange of letters between Joe and Charlie. Joe is the older brother who's off to fight in World War II. Charlie is the younger brother who stays at home trying not to fight the bullies picking on him. Mainly readers here from Joe who is first stationed in England. The letters are somewhat realistic but not really considering that all letters had to pass through censors. A LOT of detailed information reaches Charlie that would never have really made it through. But a book is a book is a book.
My thoughts: This one is definitely an early chapter book of sorts. I'm thinking primarily for second to third graders--maybe fourth graders. It seems perhaps even for a younger audience than Number the Stars. I do like it. It's historical fiction with a strong family focus. The relationship between Joe and Charlie remains the central focus throughout. He wants to be there for his little brother without actually being there. He wants to be honest and encouraging. The fact that he resists being his little brother's hero and wants his little brother to see him and love him for who he is--makes him even more of a hero. Charlie does seem a bit wise for his years. That's not a bad thing really. He makes the observation that no one really wins a war because war means death---a lot of death for both sides. Who wins when so many lives are cut short? But the epilogue aside, this one gives young readers some basic facts about World War II in an age-appropriate way.
© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews