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The Unbreakable Code by Sara Hoagland Hunter

The Unbreakable Code (edition 1996)

by Sara Hoagland Hunter, Julia Miner (Illustrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations
1571576,038 (4.33)None
Good story about native american culture.
  NanceeL | Apr 28, 2012 |
Showing 15 of 15
Native American themed book.

Good frontloading in the introduction on the background of WWII and the role that Native American's had during the war. Great option to use in conjunction with history lesson in WWII and providing multiple perspectives on what a hero looks like. Super descriptions of the effort and bravery that the code talkers exerted during the war and how little recognition they received upon their return. Can be used as a conversation starter regarding languages without writing and preserving tradition. Useful for generating questions about why the US government insisted that Navajo's stop speaking their language and only use English and whether that was right or wrong and why.

Back of the book includes excellent examples of the code so readers can better visualize how it worked.

John's grandfather explains to him the story of the unbreakable code from WW2. John's grandfather is a Navajo code talker, and explains to his grandson, John, how the Navajo language, and creativity helped the United States win World War II. ( )
  zsvandyk | Mar 4, 2015 |
This story portrays the quiet pride of a Navajo code talker as he explains to his grandson how the Navajo language, faith, and ingenuity helped win World War II.

Personal Reaction:
I liked this book because our center is a Comanche center that emphasizes the importance of teaching Comanche language to the children. We have language speakers in the center as well as classes that our teachers attend in order to keep the language alive in the classroom. This book would be great to show the children the importance behind the reason our centers do this.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
1. Since the children in the Comanche Nation centers are learning Comanche, I would have them come up with their own sentence that they want translated.

2. I would have the children discuss the importance of their language and why they think they should learn it. ( )
  roni.rawlins | Oct 25, 2014 |
Use a little story "the unbreakable code" of a brother and a sister to show the effect of War to children.
  xliao | Oct 15, 2014 |
John is scared of moving with his mom and new step-dad. He wants to stay with is grandfather on the Navajo Reservation. His grandfather tell him the story of when he was a young man and had to go to school at government boarding school. From there he left to become one of the Navajo Code Talkers in World War II. His grandfather tells him that he will be just fine, in this this move because he has something very special to take with him, his knowledge of his heritage, of the Navajo Language.
I enjoyed reading this book. I would have it in my classroom. The Oil painting illustrations are incredible and I loved to look at the pictures in this book. It teaches us about a Navajo Code Talker during World War II. John’s conflict is moving off the reservation his mom and new husband. It takes place on the beautiful mountain Navajo Reservation. It is told from John’s grandfather’s point of view.
I would have the student make a code of their own and exchange with other students to see if they can crack the code. I would also have them do a power point presentation on the Navajo Code talker and share it with the class.
  embarnes | Jul 10, 2014 |
story of Navajo Code talkers in WWII. Pronunciation guide in the back.
  bp0128bd | Jan 24, 2014 |
In my opinion, this was a good book. The first reason that makes me believe this is because it is an informational text written through the perspective of a grandfather telling his son. This aspect made the topic more interesting because the facts were all given through dialogue. For example, to clarify the meaning of Navajo words the grandfather used, the grandson translated them to English for the benefit of the reader. In addition, I liked the use of extra-textual features in this book. At the end of the book, the author included the Navajo codes that were described in the story so that the reader could study them if they so wished. This enhanced the informational aspect of the book. The big message of this book is that people may try to make you forget your heritage, but it is yours and you cannot forget it if you do not wish to. ( )
  kharri34 | Oct 8, 2013 |
I liked this book for a few different reasons. First, I thought that the language that was used in this story was descriptive. Whenever the grandfather retold his stories, he described all the noises that he heard while in the canyons very specifically. The author also chose to use a lot of metaphors throughout the story. An example of one metaphor was when the grandfather explained his freedom as, “...felt like a wild horse with the lasso finally off his neck.” Additionally, the illustrations that were in the book were very fitting and helped to enhance the story. The grandfather was retelling stories of his past and the illustrations showed the audience what the flashback he was retelling actually looked like. Without the illustrations, the grandfather’s flashback wouldn’t have been as strong as they were. I believe that the overall message of this story was to express to children that they need to hold on tightly to their heritage and what they believe in regardless what people say about it. ( )
  sradin2 | Oct 4, 2013 |
The main point of this story was that your native tongue is a part of you and should be kept, as it is important. I enjoyed the book for many reasons. The characters were very relatable. As John was being very stubborn against leaving home, I could see that if I were told that my family was moving to a place where I wouldn’t be comfortable, I would act and feel the same way. The grandfather was very understanding and was a war veteran, which is something I may not relate to personally, but many kids my age could.
I also liked the faux shift in point of view and plot. There were times where instead the narrator wouldn’t interject words like “said” or “did” unless needed and would let the dialogue seem more like a first person account of a story. The story changes a few pages in to the grandfather’s personal story, rather than of John dealing with his struggle, which I honestly found refreshing and would challenge my idea of a book telling a story within a story. ( )
  bexter1 | Sep 17, 2013 |
This book was enjoyable to read because of its believable and relatable characters and the inclusion of Navajo terms and phrases in writing. First, the main character, John, does not wish to leave his home and move with his remarrying mom. John’s grandfather tells him his story about working as the Navajo code talker during World War II and how his pride and faith in the language helped him through the jeopardizing situations. I could feel the close relationship between John and his grandfather and their pride in the Navajo heritage, and suchlike relationship and conversations between a grandfather and the grandson can be seen today. I also liked how the Navajo terms and phrases were included in the book. The grandfather mentions that the Navajo language is generally spoken verbally and not in writing, but it is unique how the book actually contains writings in Navajo as the grandfather speaks in the language. By doing so, the readers are given an opportunity to visualize at how the Navajo language may have looked if it were written down. The main idea is that having a strong faith (such as in your heritage as discussed in this book) will keep us going by means of hope and help us through troubling times. ( )
  AmyLim | Sep 17, 2013 |
story of Navajo Code talkers in WWII. Pronunciation guide in the back.
  Phill242 | May 6, 2013 |
John is frightened of leaving the reservation.. His grandfather tells him he had something special to take with him, an unbreakable code, that saved the lives of thousands of Americans in the Pacific during World War II, invented using the Navajo language. Beautifully illustrated with color paintings. Authors visited and interviewed some of the Navajo code talkers to make this story for young readers authentic and interesting to all ages. ( )
  earthwind | Aug 13, 2012 |
Based on the true story of the Navajo code talkers, this fictional account is about a young Navajo boy named John who does not want to leave to go live with his mom and new stepfather in Minnesota. He is comforted by his grandfather, who tells him about what it was like to be a code talker during the war, and how the Navajo language was so important. John learns that no matter where he goes, he can always carry the ways and the language of the Navajo with him.

Great introduction to the code talkers!
  KimReadingLog | May 13, 2012 |
Good story about native american culture.
  NanceeL | Apr 28, 2012 |
Very good book, solid but not spectacular. Teaches children to never lose their culture no matter what the odds and teaches young children to keep their head up and work hard as well. ( )
  jonathanjohnson | Sep 15, 2010 |
What a great topic this is for grades 2-5. Use this book as an essential chapter in any WWII history lesson, and great for children who are interested in code. ( )
  didaly | Jul 15, 2010 |
Showing 15 of 15

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