Patrol : an American soldier in Vietnam

Walter Dean Myers

I often forget to post books like this that I read in passing, but I already know I’ll want to recall this one later, so luckily I remembered enough to find it easily. Though it probably wouldn’t be too hard to find, as there aren’t many other picture books about soldiers in Vietnam (if any). Unfolding measuredly like a poem, the story follows a soldier on patrol in the forest who comes across a soldier from the other side. Both hesitate.

We stare across the distance. I know he wants me to lift my rifle, to be the enemy. I want him to lift his rifle. I want him to turn away. In a heartbeat, we have learned too much about each other.

Myers won the Jane Addams Peace Prize for this book, and his his acceptance speech describes his intent for the book. There are also lovely collage illustrations by Ann Grifalconi, which she talked about with the Children’s Book Council Magazine.

All in all it’s an impressive approach to talking about war with younger kids.