for Stepping on the Cracks by Mary Downing Hahn
World War II is raging overseas, and Margaret's own brother Jimmy is fighting in Europe. Although she worries about Jimmy and feels patriotism for the Allied efforts, Margaret is more immediately concerned with her and her friend Elizabeth's ongoing battles with classmate and bully Gordy. In a retaliatory move to one of Gordy's attacks, Margaret and Elizabeth follow him into the woods, only to discover that he is sheltering his older brother Stuart, an army deserter, in a hidden shack. At first scornful of Stuart's "cowardice," Margaret and Elizabeth eventually come to care for him. His feelings about combat cause Margaret to reconsider her own unconditional support of the war. When Stuart becomes seriously ill, Margaret and Elizabeth must join forces with Gordy to protect and care for his brother. A thought-provoking look at desertion and patriotism, this account doesn't offer facile answers or a comfortable conclusion to an ever-timely issue. (Ages 9-12)
CCBC Choices 1991. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1991. Used with permission.
Culled from Hahn's memories of growing up under the shadow of World War II, this story has touched young readers for more than 15 years. This beloved novel follows two girls who, after stumbling upon a classmate's secret, begin to wonder how they really feel about the war. Is it really a good war? Is there ever such a thing?
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.