Jennifer Maruno is a long-time educator. Her debut novel, When the Cherry Blossoms Fell, was shortlisted for the Hackmatack Award and the Pacific Northwest Library Association Young Readers Choice Award. She is also the author of Warbird, Cherry Blossom Winter, Kid Soldier, and Totem. She lives in Burlington, Ontario.
2015 Rocky Mountain Book Award â€” Shortlisted
A boy is thrown into the middle of historyâ€™s biggest war.
Fatherless and penniless, fifteen-year-old Richard Fuller wants a bike, so Mr. Black, the baker hires him to help with deliveries. Mr. Black entertains him with army stories and teaches him Morse code. He invites Richard to attend the opening ceremonies of the local 1939 military camp. Infatuated with army life, Richard takes part in Army training camp under an assumed name. When war looms, he makes the most impulsive decision in his life and enlists.
He travels to England, witnesses the terror of the Battle of Britain, the horrible death of a German pilot, is caught in the London Blitzkrieg, and is wounded himself. When his true age is discovered, Richard faces a possible court-martial.
Will Richardâ€™s desire for adventure lead to disaster so early in his life?
Maruno creates a well-realized world for Richard and her readers in every setting she places him, be it the humid house where his mother does her laundry work or the tense scouting and air-raid scenes in England.
Marunoâ€™s attention to detail and loyalty to source material adds significant verisimilitude to the historical setting.
Maruno excels at presenting scenes, rather than telling readers what to think.
[Jennifer Maruno] provides many interesting details of the daily lives of both civilians and military, in Canada and England. This replaces the more dramatic battle scenes expected in a WWII novel, and Marunoâ€™s strength is the research.