I am always on the look out for good non-fiction for my students. A lot of my students are interested in reading non-fiction books, but I have to be careful that the items I am selecting are not too text dense which easily discourages them. This is hard because many of the topics my students want to read about are age appropriate, yet they lack the reading skills to understand what they have checked out.
When I saw Candy Bomber: The Story of the Berlin Airlift's "Chocolate Pilot" by Michael O. Tunnell being reviewed, I knew instantly that my students would enjoy this book yet I hesitated knowing that it might be a bit too hard for them. Luckily my public library had a copy of this one, so I was able to read it before deciding if this book would be a good fit in my library.
While this book would definitely be for my fourth and fifth grade students it was not too hard as I feared. The story is fascinating and I am sure I will easily be able to sell this one to my students.
Gail Halvorsen, on an airlift to Berlin in 1948, met a group of children to whom he gave just a few pieces of gum. Although the gum was not nearly enough for all the children, from that brief meeting, Halvorsen began to develop a plan to ease the suffering of these children. In 1948, the Communists were controlling West Berlin and trying to starve the city's inhabitants, cutting them off from everything else. Halvorsen began to drop candy to the children of West Berlin, bringing a small bit of happiness to these children in the midst of much suffering. When others got wind of Halvorsen's plan they donated sweets to help these Berlin children.
Candy Bomber is written by Tunnell with the help of Halvorsen who contributed his own artifacts from his days as the "candy bomber." Tunnell is able to convey what a remarkable person Halvorsen is with his idea of candy bombing these children, but also through interviews and his own participation in this book.
In addition to the text being accessible by my upper elementary students, there are many photographs and other artifacts that will appeal to my readers. This is a great non-fiction selection of a unique story in history.