Levi Battle was always being left.
His mom left when he was a baby,
His dad left to serve in the Army.
Now his aunt says it’s his turn to leave his friends and go be with his father – in the middle of World War II!
Hard to be a teenager without his dad around, harder to trade the big city of Chicago for the prejudices of the South, harder still to imagine what life would be like if every paratrooper of the 555th doesn’t come home from their missions…
Be sure to visit the “Triple Nickle” website to learn more about this little-known battalion and the brave paratroopers who served the nation during World War II, like Bradley Biggs, the first African-American officer accepted for parachute duty in the US Army.
Get this great book today at your local library or independent bookstore; it is also available as an audiobook. Could you be as brave and loyal in the face of prejudice and danger as Lt. Battle and the men of Triple Nickle?
Book info: Jump Into the Sky / Shelley Pearsall. Alfred A. Knopf, 2012. [author’s website] [publisher site]
My Book Talk: Rattling over the rails, Levi tries to figure out how he got here, dress shirt covered with coal dust, stuck on a “Jim Crow” train car so very far away from home. Why his Aunt decided right now it was time for him to be with his father on an Army base in the middle of the War, he’ll never know.
Sure, he missed his dad, but in 1945 so many fathers and brothers and cousins were gone. If it wasn’t war-time, the Army wouldn’t let a colored man be an officer, says everyone in their Chicago neighborhood, and not one single soul believes that Charles Battle is a paratrooper.
It doesn’t help that Levi’s jazz-singer mother left home when he was a little baby, that his father has no idea that the tall thirteen-year-old is on his way to North Carolina to join him, that Aunt Odella’s prayers and fried chicken might not get him safely to Fort Bragg.
Levi couldn’t believe that white people in the South would act so hateful, but he learns quickly to stay away from town, stick with the other black soldiers’ families, and be ready to move at a moment’s notice. When the Army says leave for Oregon, off they go, Levi helping Sgt. Cal’s wife with the new baby on the long cross-country trip.
But why is the 555th battalion really in Pendleton?
Is it just busy-work to make it look like the Army is letting black soldiers fight?
What if Lt. Battle doesn’t come back from the next mission or the one after that?
Inspired by interviews with real veterans of the original 555th, this journey of discovery will take readers back to the home front during World War II as Levi watches his father and brothers-in-arms Jump Into the Sky to defend the USA, whether acknowledged for their bravery or not. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
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