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Candy Bomber: The Story of the Berlin…

Candy Bomber: The Story of the Berlin Airlift's "Chocolate Pilot"… (edition 2010)

by Michael O. Tunnell

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25213645,464 (4.25)3
Title:Candy Bomber: The Story of the Berlin Airlift's "Chocolate Pilot" (Junior Library Guild Selection (Charlesbridge Hardcover))
Authors:Michael O. Tunnell
Info:Charlesbridge Publishing (2010), Edition: New, Hardcover, 110 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:5th and up, novel, non fiction

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Candy Bomber: The Story of the Berlin Airlift's "Chocolate Pilot" by Michael O. Tunnell



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"This book is special to me because it tells about the people of Berlin who valued freedom over food. The Russians promised them food if they agreed to live under Soviet rule, but they refused. They wanted to be free, even if that meant going hungry."

The Candy Bomber was absolutely captivating, full of amazing pictures, detailed maps of the airlift routes, letters/drawings from children of Berlin, and even world maps of how the countries were divided up between the allies. The pictures really kept me flying through this book, but the meticulous attention to detail and grand imagery did as well. Although Lt. Gail Halvorsen's experiences are very real and this is a work of nonfiction, I almost felt as if I was reading a novel about a fictional pilot heading up these spectacularly kind and giving candy drops for starving children. I believe I felt like this simply because I never learned much about the aftermath of World War II in school. I was taught all about Hitler and the war, but never much about what happened afterwards. This would be a great way to further student knowledge after learning about WWII. Much like my love for some of the other nonfiction books I have read thus far, I love the many different aspects that Michael O. Tunnell touches and elaborates upon. In addition, this would be such a great title to use in the classroom because it has just enough of Halvorsen's biographical information to tie in with the historical context. Even so, my absolute favorite part of this book was the inspiring story of the Berlin children who would rather starve than lose their new found freedoms. On page 21, Halvorsen recalls, "These young kids [gave] me the most meaningful lesson in freedom I ever had." This could also be easily used in concurrence with an English class in order to explore the meaning of freedom in relation to other texts and also to look at just how much people are willing to sacrifice and go without in order to be free. I can think of a great writing prompt to begin a discussion with on this piece, for high school or middle school students. ( )
  ADReed | Feb 9, 2015 |
Candy Bomber is a great introduction for children about the aftermath of WWII in Berlin. I feel like not many people are really clear on what happened after the war, and this deals with one aspect - the Berlin Airlift. The story centers around US Air Force pilot Lt. Gail Halvorsen, and his inspirational flights delivering hope to the people of Berlin through the use of sweets. What I enjoyed most about this book was the way Tunnell addresses the historical and biographical nature of the text. He provides an accurate account of an historical event in a concise and easy-to-read format interspersed with photographs and first-person documents. This book is a great way to introduce young children to primary sources and how to effectively use them alongside text. Tunnell also provides a list of references at the end, which could allow students to do some research on their own if they're interested in finding out more about either the Berlin Airlift or the "Chocolate Pilot." Also, the historical note at the end was a nice add-on in case some students are using this book as an introduction to WWII. ( )
  vroussel | Feb 9, 2015 |
The Candy Bomber is a heartfelt historical extended photographic essay which recounts the story of Air Force Pilot Gail Halvorsen during the Berlin Airlift. This event is fairly often glossed over, or even relegated to a sentence or two in middle and high school text books. So much of the focus of secondary school studies of WWII has traditionally painted a fairly black and white “Allies good, Nazis bad” picture of the war and its aftermath, and I feel this likely leads many curricula to leave out the humanitarian crisis that West Berlin faced in the post war years.
The history of the Berlin Airlift and the story of Lt. Halvorsen are crucial to an understanding of the human toll of war on all sides. These types of stories of cooperation and caring in the face of trying times are too often given little attention in primary and secondary history books in favor of more cataclysmic or less nuanced events.
The Candy Bomber shows how one pilot started a movement to bring a little joy into the lives of the children of West Berlin by dropping them much craved sweets. This all happens with the larger political backdrop of the massive food and supply drops all over the city, obviously, but the tale of “Uncle Wiggle Wings” brings a happy and almost sickeningly optimistic perspective to the whole affair. But that is precisely what the author sought to do – to paint a positive, warm picture of people helping other people following a dark period in history and surrounded by the looming shadow of further conflict.
This book is well researched and sourced, and, at the same time, full of almost too much heart. While the author is a literature professor, he went to reputable historical sources for his background material, and he even obtained valuable primary source material from interviews with Halvorsen himself (who he met with at his home in Utah). The story is well written, and the photos are rich and well-chosen. This is another text I will be including in my classroom library. ( )
  jrnewman | Feb 9, 2015 |
This explanation of a little-known but well-loved part of the Cold war is an excellent introduction for young readers interested in learning about the aftermath of World War II anf the tensions extant in the Cold War. This biographic tale loosely focuses on the story of Gail Halvorsen, a man whose practical expression of compassion made the American way of life popular in a place where it could easily have been forgotten. The writing is at a level that even struggling readers can follow the tale, and the pictures, though dated and grainy, make the book pleasant to follow. I woud definitely recommend this book as an intro to the Cold war or a wrapup to WWII lessons, especially in the 4-6 grades. ( )
  gemerritt | Feb 9, 2015 |
When I first saw this book an the list, I was pleasantly surprised as I had the privilege to see Colonel Halvorsen speak when I was a cadet at the United States Air Force Academy in 2006. This being the case, I can promise that many of the anecdotes in the story, such as his concern that his commanding officer would not approve and the Soviet's irritation and protests when his bomber began dropping candy over East Berlin. I will say that, at least in terms of history, that the background provided in the early part of the book too often drifted toward labeling the Soviet Union and its intentions in Berlin. Its one thing to say that the Soviet Union was a dictatorship, but it is another thing to demonstrate why that is relevant to their cutting West Berlin off from outside supplies. The author did an excellent job at the end explaining the purpose of the Marshal Plan, but here would have been a better place to discuss the adversarial relationship that the West had with the Soviets by explaining that Western Postwar reconstruction was due, at least in part, to a desire to block Soviet inroads in Postwar Europe. ( )
  CharlesHollis | Feb 9, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 136 (next | show all)
added by Katya0133 | editHorn Book, Susan Dove Lempke (Sep 1, 2010)
This is a real treat—a World War II title with a happy ending.
added by Katya0133 | editSchool Library Journal, Eldon Younce (Jul 1, 2010)
[An] accessible and positive portrayal of a serviceman who wasn’t on the battlefield. Irresistible.
added by Katya0133 | editBooklist, Kathleen Isaacs (Jun 1, 2010)
The abundance of war details aid in the transition from one chapter to the next but tend to overrun the telling, hampering narrative flow. Readers who stick with it, however, will gain a unusual perspective on the beginnings of the Cold War.
added by Katya0133 | editKirkus (Jun 1, 2010)
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"World War II was over, and Berlin was in ruins. US Air Force Lieutenant Gail Halvorsen knew the children of the city were suffering. They were hungry and afraid. The young pilot wanted to help, but what could one man in one plane do?"--dust jacket flap.… (more)

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2 editions of this book were published by Charlesbridge.

Editions: 1580893368, 1580893376

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