Skip to main content

Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Raid of No Return by Nathan Hale, 125 pp, RL 4

It's been a while since I reviewed a book in the graphic novel series Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales - four years and three books, to be exact. With Raid of No Return, the seventh book in Hale's amazing series of graphic novels focusing on important moments in American history, he tells a powerful story that is suspenseful, emotional and almost unbelievable. I also have not reviewed a book in this series since I began working as an elementary school librarian. Knowing Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales would be popular with my students, the majority being English language learners reading below grade level, I ordered four copies of each book in the series and they are rarely on this shelf. It's amazing to be able to inspire these young readers and challenge them at the same time.

Hale's books are perfect for history lovers and those who know nothing about history (or, like me, think they don't like reading about history) alike because he always finds the most interesting way into an event. For me, Raid of No Return, was initially interesting because I have always wanted to learn more about why the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Hale delivers details about their military history, naval dominance and the needs that drove the Japanese to attack America in the first few pages of the graphic novel then dives into the story of the Doolittle Raid and the men who flew it.

Hale uses his narrator/tour guides - Nathan Hale, the Hangman (who, historically ends Hale's life) and the British Provost overseeing his execution for spying - to share details with readers outside of the narrative he creates. The three share information with readers like the fact that the Doolittle Raid was the first time since the Civil War that the Army and Navy worked cooperatively (and it's also a nod to Hale's book Big Bad Ironclad, which is about submarine battles) as well as Norden Bombsight, an early analog computer. The three also briefly discuss segregation when the hangman, seeing all the pilots assemble, asks if you have to be white to be a pilot. Nathan Hale answers, telling him to, "ask about the Tuskegee Airmen sometime." It's challenging portraying the air raid missions of the sixteen B52B bombers and the crew of five Army Air Force men on each plane, but Hale does a fine job. He also manages to keep you on the edge of your seat with the way he unfolds the events of the raid on Tokyo. And, if you are an adult, you will possibly find yourself like me, choking back tears as Raid of No Return comes to a close. Ending at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright Patterson Air Force base, Hale shares the memorial for the Doolittle Raiders, the wall of eighty silver goblets, each Raider's cup turned upside down when he died. The one goblet still standing upright belongs to Colonel Richard E. Cole, Jimmy Doolittle's copilot, to whom Raid of No Return is dedicated. 

 Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales 1 - 6

Source: Review Copy


Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers remains the most read post on my blog since I wrote it in 2012. Because of this, I have cleaned up this post, tightened the writing and added in any pertinent information that has come about since it originally ran. When I first started in August of 2008, I was scrambling for content, finding my purpose and my voice and not always doing my best writing. How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers was one of the first articles I wrote and, as a bookseller and a book reviewer, and now as an elementary school librarian where I have gone from working with kids reading well beyond their grade level to kids reading well below, this philosophy remains my organizing principle and central focus when reading and recommending books to parents and children. 

In the interest of my mission and the attention this article continues to receive, I have updated and expanded this article and included a guide to using …

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…