Be All that You Can Be

In honor of Veteran’s Day, this month we’re highlighting teen books about the armed forces, both fictional and nonfictional.

Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean MyersNever Fall Down by Patricia McCormickThe Warrior's Heart by Eric GreitensSoldier's Secret by Sheila KlassCode Name Verity by Elizaneth WeinLeviathan by Scott Westerfeld

  • Atwood, Kathryn. Women Heroes of World War II.
    These twenty-six suspense-filled stories unfold from across Germany, Poland, Great Britain, the United States, and more, providing an inspiring reminder of women and girls’ refusal to sit on the sidelines around the world and throughout history.
  • Freedman, Russell. The War to End All Wars.
    Nonfiction master Russell Freedman illuminates for young readers the complex and rarely discussed subject of World War I. The tangled relationships and alliances of many nations, the introduction of modern weaponry, and top-level military decisions that resulted in thousands upon thousands of casualties all contributed to the “great war,” which people hoped and believed would be the only conflict of its kind.
  • Greitens, Eric. The Warrior’s Heart: Becoming a Man of Compassion and Courage.
    Shares the author’s adventures as a young man that led him to a life of service as both a humanitarian and a Navy SEAL.
  • Immel, Mary. Captured: A Boy Trapped in the Civil War.
    Fourteen-year-old Johnny Ables, pressed into service in the Confederate army, is forced to participate in a major Civil War battle and ends up in an Indiana prison camp. Based on the true story of a real boy.
  • Jarrow, Gail. Lincoln’s Flying Spies: Thaddeus Lowe and the Civil War Balloon Corps.
    Describes the contributions made to the Union’s efforts in the Civil War by Thaddeus Lowe and a corps of hot air balloonists who helped spy on the Confederate army, despite becoming targets in the war themselves.
  • Klass, Sheila. Soldier’s Secret: the Story of Deborah Sampson.
    During the Revolutionary War, a young woman named Deborah Sampson disguises herself as a man in order to serve in the Continental Army.
  • Kohler, Dean Ellis. Rock ‘n’ Roll Soldier: A Memoir.
    Dean Ellis Kohler, aspiring rock star, is drafted and sent to Vietnam, where he forms a rock ‘n’ roll band at the behest of his Captain.
  • Lu, Marie. Legend.
    In a dark future, when North America has split into two warring nations, fifteen-year-olds Day, a famous criminal, and prodigy June, the brilliant soldier hired to capture him, discover that they have a common enemy.
  • Lynch, Chris. I Pledge Allegiance. (First of a quartet.)
    Four best friends serving in the Vietnam War make a pledge to one another that they will do all they can to return home safely together.
  • McCormick, Patricia. Never Fall Down.
    Cambodian child soldier Arn Chorn-Pond defied the odds and used all of his courage and wits to survive the murderous regime of the Khmer Rouge.
  • McCormick, Patricia. Purple Heart.
    While recuperating in a Baghdad hospital from a traumatic brain injury sustained during the Iraq War, eighteen-year-old soldier Matt Duffy struggles to recall what happened to him and how it relates to his ten-year-old friend, Ali.
  • Mazer, Harry and Lerangis, Peter. Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I Am.
    Wounded in Iraq while his Army unit is on convoy and treated for many months for traumatic brain injury, the first person Ben remembers from his earlier life is his autistic brother.
  • Moss, Marissa. Soldier’s Secret: the Incredible True Story of Sarah Edmonds, a Civil War hero
    Nineteen-year-old Sarah masquerades as a man during the Civil War, serving as a nurse on the battlefield and a spy for the Union Army, escaping from the Confederates, and falling in love with one of her fellow soldiers. Based on the life of Sarah Emma Edmonds.
  • Myers, Walter Dean. Fallen Angels.
    Seventeen-year-old Richie Perry, just out of his Harlem high school, enlists in the Army in the summer of 1967 and spends a devastating year on active duty in Vietnam.
  • Myers, Walter Dean. Sunrise Over Fallujah.
    Robin Perry, from Harlem, is sent to Iraq in 2003 as a member of the Civilian Affairs Battalion, and his time there profoundly changes him.
  • Peet, Mal. Tamar.
    In England in 1995, fifteen-year-old Tamar, grief-stricken by the puzzling death of her beloved grandfather, slowly begins to uncover the secrets of his life in the Dutch resistance during the last year of the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, and the climactic events that forever cast a shadow on his life and that of his family.
  • Rinaldi, Ann. Girl In Blue.
    To escape an abusive father and an arranged marriage, fourteen-year-old Sarah, dressed as a boy, leaves her Michigan home to enlist in the Union Army, and becomes a soldier on the battlefields of Virginia as well as a Union spy working in the house of Confederate sympathizer Rose O’Neal Greenhow in Washington, D.C.
  • Rinaldi, Ann. In My Father’s House.
    For two sisters growing up surrounded by the Civil War, there is conflict both outside and inside their house.
  • Schreck, Karen. While He Was Away.
    When Penna’s boyfriend, David, goes off to Iraq, she’s left facing life without him, and when he stops writing, she doubts if David will be the same boy she fell in love with when he eventually does come home.
  • Wein, Elizabeth. Code Name Verity.
    In 1943, a British fighter plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France and the survivor tells a tale of friendship, war, espionage, and great courage as she relates what she must to survive while keeping secret all that she can.
  • Westerfeld, Scott. Leviathan. (First of a trilogy.)
    In an alternate 1914 Europe, fifteen-year-old Austrian Prince Alek, on the run from the Clanker Powers who are attempting to take over the globe using mechanical machinery, forms an uneasy alliance with Deryn who, disguised as a boy to join the British Air Service, is learning to fly genetically-engineered beasts.
  • Yang, Dori Jones. Daughter of Xanadu.
    Emmajin, the sixteen-year-old eldest granddaughter of Khublai Khan, becomes a warrior and falls in love with explorer Marco Polo in thirteenth-century China.
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