word craft


Don’t You Know There’s a War On?

Don't You Know There's a War On?

Harper­Collins, 2001

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audio book nar­rat­ed by 
Nick Landrum

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What’s this book about?

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!

Story Behind the Story

One day my youngest son Jack—I think he was in fifth grade—came home from school: “We’re study­ing World War Two,” he announced, not very hap­pi­ly. “And I have to find some­one who was alive back then and inter­view them. How am I ever going to find anyone?”

“What about me?” I asked.


“I was around then.”

“You were? You’re that old?” These words were expressed with a mix of dis­be­lief and awe and maybe shock.


Awards and Recognition

  • Chil­dren’s Choice nom­i­nee, Oklahoma
  • Chil­dren’s Choice nom­i­nee, Missouri
  • Chil­dren’s Choice nom­i­nee, Virginia


“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.” (Chil­dren’s Lit­er­a­ture)

buy the book 
if you liked this book, try: