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Click to search this book in our catalog The Mosquito Bowl
by Buzz Bissinger

Publishers Weekly Bissinger (Friday Night Lights) effortlessly combines sports and military history in this gritty account of a football game played by U.S. Marines on Guadalcanal in December 1944. Noting that no other branch of the military attracted more college gridiron stars, Bissinger spotlights, among others, Notre Dame captain George Murphy and the University of Wisconsin’s two-time All-American end, David Schreiner. After months of trash-talking between these and other former collegiate football players in the 4th and 29th regiments of the 6th Marine Division on Guadalcanal, the two sides squared off on the parade ground in T-shirts and dungarees, playing a hard-fought game that devolved into a bloody brawl among the “dirt and pebbles and shards of coral.” The football action is vivid but brief, as the game turned out to be “two hours of life that turned into death several months later,” when 15 of the 65 Marines who played in the Mosquito Bowl were killed and 20 more wounded during the Battle of Okinawa. The book excels in its sweeping yet fine-grained portraits of how these Marines got to Guadalcanal and in the harrowing descriptions of Pacific Theater combat, including the bloody fight for Sugar Loaf Hill on Okinawa. This is a penetrating tale of courage and sacrifice. Agent: Eric Simonoff, WME. (Sept.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Football is war. That is mainly what Bissinger (Friday Night Lights) reminds readers of in his new account of a forgotten moment during World War II. The Mosquito Bowl was a Christmas Eve football game between two regiments of the U.S. Marine Corps that happened in 1944. Of the 65 marines that played that day, 20 men were or would be drafted by the NFL. Within months, 15 of the players would lose their lives during the invasion of Okinawa. Twenty others would be wounded. The author takes readers onto the battlefield the same way he previously took them onto the gridiron. He introduces the men who led the fighting, both on the field and in the Pacific Theater, before creating a compelling narrative of a marine's life in Guadalcanal and during the invasion of Okinawa. Fans of Bissinger's previous books will find a rich character-driven narrative about two of the dirtiest and deadliest battlefields of World War II. VERDICT Bissinger has found a way to merge sports with World War II to give readers a heartbreaking narrative of what many young men went through in the last days of World War II. Highly recommended.—John Rodzvilla

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus A uniquely focused World War II history interweaving military heroics and college football.Many books describe the consequential Battle of Okinawa in 1945, but this one deserves serious attention. Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights, makes good use of his sports expertise to deliver a vivid portrait of college football before and during WWII, when it was a national obsession far more popular then professional leagues. He recounts the lives and families of a group of outstanding players who made their marks before joining the Marines to endure brutal training followed by a series of island battles culminating in Okinawa, which many did not survive. The author, whose father served at Okinawa, offers illuminating diversions into Marine history, the birth of amphibious tactics between the wars (they did not exist before), the course of the Pacific war, and the often unedifying politics that guided its course. To readers expecting another paean to the Greatest Generation, Bissinger delivers several painful jolts. Often racist but ordered to accept Black recruits, Marine leaders made sure they were segregated and treated poorly. Though many of the athletes yearned to serve, some took advantage of a notorious draft-dodging institution: West Point. Eagerly welcomed by its coaching staff, which fielded the best Army teams in its history, they played throughout the war and then deliberately flunked out (thus avoiding compulsory service) in order to join the NFL. In December 1944 on Guadalcanal (conquered two years earlier), two bored Marine regiments suffered and trained for the upcoming invasion. Between them, they contained 64 former football players. Inevitably, they chose sides and played a bruising, long-remembered game, dubbed the Mosquito Bowl. In the final third of the book, Bissinger provides a capable account of the battle, a brutal slog led by an inexperienced general who vastly underestimated his job. The author emphasizes the experience and tenacity of his subjects, most of whom were among the 15 killed.College football and World War II: not an obvious combination, but Bissinger handles it brilliantly. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list For two hours on Christmas Eve in December 1944, thousands of miles from home, on the island of Guadalcanal, 65 men from the 4th and 29th regiments of the 6th Marine Division, many of whom had been college football stars before the war and were seemingly headed for NFL careers, took part in a football game that allowed them to relive past glories and forget the war, if only briefly. The contest, which came to be known as the Mosquito Bowl, was fiercely competitive, with each regiment determined to best the other. The players knew they would soon see action on the battlefield, but they had no idea that they were being readied for the invasion of Okinawa, where 15 of them would die and many more would be injured. Bissinger, author of the football classic Friday Night Lights, employs the familiar narrative-nonfiction device of focusing on a few of the characters involved in a larger story and immersing the reader in their lives, sharing their thoughts, their fears, and their dreams of what their lives might be like if they were to make it home. This well-researched and impassioned book not only chronicles a little-known moment in sports history but also offers a poignant snapshot of the tragedy of war. Bissinger says of these brave men who sacrificed everything, “They deserved so much more.”

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Kirkus A uniquely focused World War II history interweaving military heroics and college football. Many books describe the consequential Battle of Okinawa in 1945, but this one deserves serious attention. Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights, makes good use of his sports expertise to deliver a vivid portrait of college football before and during WWII, when it was a national obsession far more popular then professional leagues. He recounts the lives and families of a group of outstanding players who made their marks before joining the Marines to endure brutal training followed by a series of island battles culminating in Okinawa, which many did not survive. The author, whose father served at Okinawa, offers illuminating diversions into Marine history, the birth of amphibious tactics between the wars (they did not exist before), the course of the Pacific war, and the often unedifying politics that guided its course. To readers expecting another paean to the Greatest Generation, Bissinger delivers several painful jolts. Often racist but ordered to accept Black recruits, Marine leaders made sure they were segregated and treated poorly. Though many of the athletes yearned to serve, some took advantage of a notorious draft-dodging institution: West Point. Eagerly welcomed by its coaching staff, which fielded the best Army teams in its history, they played throughout the war and then deliberately flunked out (thus avoiding compulsory service) in order to join the NFL. In December 1944 on Guadalcanal (conquered two years earlier), two bored Marine regiments suffered and trained for the upcoming invasion. Between them, they contained 64 former football players. Inevitably, they chose sides and played a bruising, long-remembered game, dubbed the Mosquito Bowl. In the final third of the book, Bissinger provides a capable account of the battle, a brutal slog led by an inexperienced general who vastly underestimated his job. The author emphasizes the experience and tenacity of his subjects, most of whom were among the 15 killed. College football and World War II: not an obvious combination, but Bissinger handles it brilliantly. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog New Kid
by Jerry Craft

Horn Book Jordan, an African American seventh grader from Washington Heights, confronts both covert and overt racism in his first year at a prestigious academy, but he also develops supportive relationships with classmates of different races. Artist Jordan's sketchbook is shown in interludes throughout the engaging graphic novel's main narrative; Craft's full-color comics art is dynamic and expressive. A robust, contemporary depiction of a preteen navigating sometimes hostile spaces yet staying true to himself. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* Don't let the title fool you. Seventh-grader Jordan Banks may be the new kid at his upper-crust private school, but this remarkably honest and accessible story is not just about being new; it's unabashedly about race. Example after uncomfortable example hits the mark: casual assumptions about black students' families and financial status, black students being mistaken for one another, well-intentioned teachers awkwardly stumbling over language, competition over skin tones among the black students themselves. Yet it's clear that everyone has a burden to bear, from the weird girl to the blond boy who lives in a mansion, and, indeed, Jordan only learns to navigate his new world by not falling back on his own assumptions. Craft's easy-going art and ingenious use of visual metaphor loosen things up considerably, and excerpts from Jordan's sketch book provide several funny, poignant, and insightful asides. It helps keep things light and approachable even as Jordan's parents tussle over the question of what's best for their son to follow the world's harsh rules so he can fit in or try to pave his own difficult road. A few climactic moments of resolution feel a touch too pat, but Craft's voice rings urgent and empathetic. Speaking up about the unrepresented experience of so many students makes this a necessary book, particularly for this age group. Possibly one of the most important graphic novels of the year.--Jesse Karp Copyright 2018 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Kirkus Jordan Banks takes readers down the rabbit hole and into his mostly white prep school in this heartbreakingly accurate middle-grade tale of race, class, microaggressions, and the quest for self-identity.He may be the new kid, but as an African-American boy from Washington Heights, that stigma entails so much more than getting lost on the way to homeroom. Riverdale Academy Day School, located at the opposite end of Manhattan, is a world away, and Jordan finds himself a stranger in a foreign land, where pink clothing is called salmon, white administrators mistake a veteran African-American teacher for the football coach, and white classmates ape African-American Vernacular English to make themselves sound cool. Jordan's a gifted artist, and his drawings blend with the narrative to give readers a full sense of his two worlds and his methods of coping with existing in between. Craft skillfully employs the graphic-novel format to its full advantage, giving his readers a delightful and authentic cast of characters who, along with New York itself, pop off the page with vibrancy and nuance. Shrinking Jordan to ant-sized proportions upon his entering the school cafeteria, for instance, transforms the lunchroom into a grotesque Wonderland in which his lack of social standing becomes visually arresting and viscerally uncomfortable.An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in America. (Graphic fiction. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Riverdale Academy Day School is every parent's dream for their child: it has a beautiful sprawling campus, a rigorous academic curriculum, and ample extracurricular activities. It's also distinctly lacking in diversity. African-American new kid Jordan Banks would rather go to art school, but his parents have enrolled him, so he dutifully commutes to the Bronx from his home in Washington Heights, Manhattan. When he's not being confused with the few other students of color, he is being spoken to in slang, is receiving looks when financial aid is mentioned, or is forced to navigate many more micro-aggressions. Artwork by Craft interweaves the story with Jordan's sketchbook drawings, which convey the tension of existing in two markedly different places. The sketches show him being called "angry" for his observations, feeling minuscule in a cafeteria, and traveling by public transportation across different socioeconomic and racially segregated neighborhoods, changing his outfit and demeanor to fit in. This engaging story offers an authentic secondary cast and captures the high jinks of middle schoolers and the tensions that come with being a person of color in a traditionally white space. Ages 8-12. Agent: Judy Hansen, Hansen Literary. (Feb.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 4-7-Jordan Banks is anxious about being the new kid at Riverdale, especially since he'd rather be going to art school. He's even more nervous when he realizes that, unlike in his Washington Heights neighborhood, at Riverdale, he's one of the few kids of color. Despite some setbacks, Jordan eventually makes a few friends and chronicles his experiences in his sketch pad. This is more than a story about being the new kid-it's a complex examination of the micro- and macroaggressions that Jordan endures from classmates and teachers. He is regularly mistaken for the other black kids at school. A teacher calls another black student by the wrong name and singles him out during discussions on financial aid. Even Jordan's supportive parents don't always understand the extent of the racism he faces. This book opens doors for additional discussion. Craft's illustrations are at their best during the vibrant full-page spreads. The art loses a bit of detail during crowd scenes, but the characters' emotions are always well conveyed. Jordan's black-and-white notebook drawings are the highlight of this work, combining effective social commentary with the protagonist's humorous voice. VERDICT Highly recommended for all middle grade shelves.-Gretchen Hardin, Sterling Municipal Library, Baytown, TX Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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