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Voices at Whisper Bend (American Girl…
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Voices at Whisper Bend (American Girl History Mysteries) (1999)

by Katherine Ayres

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"How was school, honey?"
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Gr 3-6-Through clarity and a strong sense of place, Ayres has created a well-structured, entertaining story that focuses on a turbulent time in American history. Living in Pennsylvania in 1942, Charlotte wants to do her part for the war effort after her brother Jim enlists in the Navy and her mother goes to work in the local war plant. Her father, the operator of a tugboat, guides boats towing war supplies up the Monongahela River. Charlotte comes up with the idea of enlisting her classmates to help her collect scrap metal. Her enthusiasm and joy regarding the success of her project are short-lived when the metal is stolen from the school's basement. Her determination to find the thief leads her out on the rain-swollen river at night, where she confronts not only the culprit, but also a fear that has haunted her. Social issues are handled with sensitivity and thoughtfulness, particularly the episodes involving Charlotte's friend who endures endless taunts because she is of German descent. Another poignant scene clearly reflects the emotions felt by everyone who had family members stationed in Europe and the Pacific. Characters develop as the story moves at an even pace. Charlotte feels an inner strength and sense of accomplishment when she solves the mystery. An appended historical note offers more information about World War II.
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In their Pennsylvania town in 1942 twelve-year-old Charlotte and her classmates collect scrap metal for the war effort only to have it disappear from the school basement.

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