Candlewick Press ISBN 9780763665487
MS Grades 5-8 Rating: 5
Courage Has No Color by Tanya Lee Stone tells the true story of America’s first black paratroopers. These servicemen wanted an opportunity to contribute to fighting the war, but found that black soldiers were often given service duties and kept out of combat. They met with prejudice and racism everywhere and had to fight to end segregation in the military. Even in uniform, they were sometimes refused service in white establishments. The paratroopers wanted to receive the same training and privileges as the white soldiers. This included being allowed to jump out of airplanes. Walter Morris, one of the first black paratroopers, wanted his men to feel valued, so he decided to have them copy the training of the white students. In 1943, the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, also known as the Triple Nickles, was formed during World War II. These men showed true strength and courage everyday while fighting to make this country a better place to live. Some people were willing to help in the fight to give black soldiers equal treatment in the military; Eleanor Roosevelt was one such supporter.
Courage Has No Color chronicles the very interesting story of the creation of the Triple Nickles and how they endured racism while trying to serve their country. These men met with obstacles from within the military and outside, yet they persevered and vowed to uphold their commitments. Many were not honored for fulfilling their duties until years later. Historian Stephen Ambrose stated, “Soldiers were fighting the world’s worst racist, Adolf Hitler, in the world’s most segregated army.” Readers will gain an appreciation of the hard work and challenges these men experienced. The author’s extensive research included many different sources, including interviews with smokejumping experts as well as with Triple Nickles members and their families. The book contains many pictures that illustrate the battalion’s story, and never-before-seen photographs provide insight into these servicemen’s lives and their times.
YALSA Honor for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults
Trina Chase, CLJ
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