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Don't You Know There's a War On?
HarperCollins, 2001
story behind the book
reviews, awards, honors
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Don't You Know There's a War On?

World War II is on everyone's mind and in every headline, and Howie Crispers has a hunch that his school principal is a spy. With a little snooping around, Howie finds out something even more alarming. Principal Lomister may not be a spy, but he is plotting to get rid of Howie's favorite teacher.

Howie's dad is fighting Nazis overseas, and his mom is working hard to support the war effort, so Miss Gossim is the only person Howie can depend on.

With the help of his friends, and a plan worthy of radio show superhero Captain Midnight, Howie intends to save Miss Gossim!

Behind the Book

Avi writes: It was a school assignment for one of my kids: “Interview someone who was around during World War Two and ask them what they remember.” When my boy found out I qualified, he was astonished. But as I talked to him about those times—I was four years old when the attack on Pearl Harbor took place—I began to remember more and more. I started to think there was a story in all those memories.

When the book was first written, I went to my boy’s class and read the opening chapters. I was informed, at home, that the kids thought the first couple of chapters were boring. I rewrote them. Writers get help from many different places.

Awards and Honors:

Children's Choice nominee, Oklahoma
Children's Choice nominee, Missouri
Children's Choice nominee, Virginia


Children’s Literature:

“Howie is an honorable and likeable kid who stumbles on a secret that’s just too good to keep, though he tries mightily. His voice is fresh with the wholesomeness of 40s slang and the ageless irreverence of just being a boy.  Especially well crafted are lifelike dialogues that zip with brevity and wit that will keep readers grinning. As Howie schemes to prevent the firing of his favorite teacher, readers will discover how different it was growing up in the wartime 40s and delight in the things that have remained the same in 2001.”

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