GoodGrandma℠ own Book Guru Grandma has two recommendations for Armed Forces Day. The first book is Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot by Margot Theis Raven. This is the true-life story of Lieutenant Gail S. Halvorsen, who was a pilot involved in the humanitarian rescue mission to save the lives of West Berliners, who were cut off from all food, electricity, heat, and clothing. Lieutenant Halvorsen wanted to give more than the necessities and organized the candy drop for the children of West Berlin. The book tells of the letters the children would write to him and the humor and love that they shared. Excellent book for fourth, fifth and sixth graders (ages 10 to 12) and the epilogue has information about Lieutenant Halvorsen’s wonderful work, and the support he received from many in the United States. It also has a surprise ending that is very tender. When I would read it aloud, I would warn the students that I MIGHT cry (I always cried). The beginning of the book describes the dangers that the pilots from the United States, Great Britain, and France faced in order to save the lives of 2.2 million people for 15 months. Most of these people were women and children, as their husbands and fathers had died in the war. Lieutenant Halvorsen was called the “Chocolate Uncle” and an “Uncle Wiggly Wings” by the children, and this was truly an event that all children and adults will love hearing and learn about. I love this book and was fortunate enough to meet Lieutenant Halvorsen, and receive his autograph my personal copy. He was truly a great serviceman to so many.
“Gail “Hal” Halvorsen was a C-54 pilot who became known worldwide as the “Candy Bomber” during the Berlin Airlift in 1948. This is the touching story of one man’s efforts to bring a little joy to the children of a defeated enemy with two sticks of gum and candy tied to handkerchief parachutes. Halvorsen’s simple act of kindness was the beginning of a mission that brought hope to the children of a blockaded West Berlin. Airing December 2014 on most PBS stations (check your local listings at pbs.org/tvschedules) Support your local PBS station now — you make it possible for your PBS station to offer amazing performances and the opportunity to discover something new every day, whether on TV or online.” by The Candy Bomber by PBS
The second recommendation is Brother Eagle, Sister Sky with wonderful illustrations by Susan Jeffers. It is a beautiful message from Chief Seattle, directed to the government of the United States when the government wanted to purchase the lands of his people. It reminds us that we cannot continue to waste or destroy nature, or we will destroy ourselves. One of my favorite quotes from Chief Seattle is, “Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints.” Beautifully illustrated, tender words of warning, and showing a powerful love of the land, and our responsibilities toward it.