Soldier Doll

  • Pages:256
  • Publisher:Second Story Press
  • Themes:world wars, Vietnam, Afghanistan, military families
  • Available:03/01/2014
  • Age Groups:Fiction Ages 12+
  • Lexile:HL600L
  • Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient:Z+
Fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Bryant is not happy. She’s had to leave all her friends behind and move across the country for her dad’s job in the military. One hot summer evening during her first week in her new city, she’s out killing time at a local garage sale when she spots a little soldier doll amid the junk. She thinks only that it might be a good last-minute birthday gift for her dad, who’s about to ship out to Afghanistan. She doesn’t realize that it might be a missing (and very valuable) historical artifact. With the help of Evan, the cute guy she’s just met at a local used book store, Elizabeth discovers that the doll might be THE soldier doll: the inspiration for a famous World War I poem of the same name.

Elizabeth’s story is interwoven with the amazing, tumultuous story of the soldier doll itself. Fashioned with love by a father for his only child in England years ago, we follow the doll back to England during World War I, then on to Nazi Germany in the 1930s, a Czech concentration camp during World War II, Vietnam in 1970 and through the aftermath of 9/11.
"The spiraling story lines weave together easily with just enough history to keep readers interested and just enough of the contemporary to keep them anchored in a familiar setting. Many discussions between families in all the settings help the reader to understand that war is never an easy decision and the consequences are horrific. This book will appeal to both girls and boys and easily lead to thoughtful questions about what, if any, are the right reasons to go to war."
"An excellent book that will draw young readers into stories of the past without even noticing they're learning about history."
– Quill & Quire
"The captivating story is well-paced and flows naturally from present to past and back again many times over. The transitions serve to both build suspense and engage the reader. Gold has a keen mastery of plotting segues. Shifts from one setting to the next feel entirely appropriate and virtually cinematic. Superb writing and editing combine to create a readily readable, fascinating story. The characters, even those we only meet for a single chapter, are well-developed through the dialogue and action. The reader will feel empathy for the many and varied victims of war encountered through the story’s progression...Highly Recommended."
– CM Magazine
"Insightful and compassionate contemplation about war that wisely does not preach or take sides, but allows each of the characters, in their unique historical settings, to speak for themselves."
– Association of Jewish Libraries