Title: We Were There at Pearl HarborWe Were There at Pearl Harbor
Author: Felix Sutton
Illustrator: Frank Vaughn
Pages: 177
Recommended Ages: 7-12
Star Rating: ★★★★★

Remember We Were There at the Battle of Gettysburg? Same series.

The Story.

December 7, 1941. The moment the date formed itself in Mike Morrison’s sleepy mind, he leaped out of bed. Today was his fourteenth birthday! With the gift of a sailboat and a chance to sail her down Battleship Row, this birthday promised to be uforgettable!

A half hour later, Mike found his sailboat surrounded by wreckage and carnage as torpedo after torpedo dropped from the bellies of Jap planes and slammed into the proud battleships of the US Navy. Although startled and shaken, Mike continued to sail about the bay, picking up sailors as they swam away from the destruction.

But there are only so many that Mike can save, and the planes keep coming…. Will this nightmare never end?


Published in 1957, this book strikes a perfect balance between creating factually accurate scenes that aren’t so bogged down in the facts that they still communicate the atmosphere of the attack. Mike, his older brother, Jeff, and their young neighbor, Mary Jane, are out for a joy ride when the attack is launched. All three of them throw their all into rescuing as many men as possible and striking a blow back at the Japanese.

I loved seeing how maturely each of the characters in the story accepted their roles and responsibilities. Although only thirteen, Mary Jane offers her services as a nurse and proves to be an effective aide.

Lovely 50s illustrations pop up her and there, adding to the full vintage setting.

I loved this bit of advice from Mike’s father.

“Never be afraid of being afraid, Mike,” he said. “Fear is a good thing sometimes. It makes you careful and keeps you from doing anything foolish. The brave man is the man who doesn’t let his fear get him down, but goes ahead and does a better job because of it.

Luck, rather than God’s providence, is credited with Mike’s survival.

‘Gosh’ and ‘golly’ are both used several times.

Conclusion. Recommended. Also read The Attack on Pearl Harbor, I Survived the Attack on Pearl Harbor, and Pearl Harbor.

Review © 2015 Laura Verret

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