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The Fighting Ground
illus. by Ellen Thompson
HarperCollins, 2009
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The Fighting Ground

April 3, 1778. America is caught up in the Revolutionary War. On this warm spring morning, not far from Trenton, New Jersey, a 13-year-old boy and his father are quietly tilling the sod on their farm. But the boy can think of only one thing: He wants to fight. He knows how to use a gun-why won't his father let him go?

Unexpectedly, the quiet is cut by the sound of a bell-an alarm ringing from the nearby tavern. Jonathan is sent to find out what the trouble is. What he finds in the next twenty-four hours, when he does fight and is taken prisoner by three Hessian soldiers, changes his understanding of war and life forever. The real war, he discovers, is being fought within himself.

This swiftly paced adventure story of a battle-within-a-battle is told by Avi in stark detail, with vivid historical settings and breathtaking action.

Story Behind the Story

At the time I was living in Lambertville, New Jersey, so it was easy for me to catch a bus and get into NYC for a meeting with my editor. We were going to discuss the new novel manuscript I had sent her.

I did indeed meet with her and learn that she was rejecting my book. Long ago I had learned that you didn’t argue about such a thing, you just accepted it, and moved on. Indeed, while taking the bus back home my primary thought was, “What am I going to write now?” read more

Awards and Honors:

Scott O'Dell Award, Best Historical Fiction, 1984
ALA Notable, 1984
ALA Best Books for YA, 1984
Bologna, International Book Fair, White Raven, 1984
Notable Children's Trade Books in Social Studies, 1984
Jefferson Cup Award Honor Book, Virginia Library Assoc, 1985
Book of the Month, 1984 PCRRT
ALA Best Books Hi-Lo, 1984


School Library Journal:

“The years is 1778, and 13-year-old Jonathan longs to go off to fight the British … a vivid telling in a brief and intensely personal moment of history in which a young boy grows up much too fast.”

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