Monday, February 25, 2013


Siebert Medal winner Tanya Lee Stone's new book tells the story of the Triple Nickles, America's first all black paratrooper company. Stone describes how the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion came into being during World War II. Despite strong institutional racism, the Advisory Committee on Negro Troop Policies recommended the formation of an all-black airborne unit in December of 1942. First Sergeant Walter Morris had been training black soldiers to be paratroopers for a while, but the Triple Nickles was not officially activated until December 1943 at Fort Benning, Georgia. Through they were a well-trained company, they were not allowed to serve overseas during the war. Instead, they were sent to Pendleton, Oregon where they fought against a secret attack by Japanese. Stone's book highlights the honor and bravery of the Triple Nickles. These men wanted to fight to protect America but instead had to silently suffer horrible treatment from their own government. They hoped that their efforts would bring about a more egalitarian Armed Forces. Stone also explains a fascinating, little-known attempt by the Japanese to instill terror in American society. 

Courage Has No Color is a well-written book that adds another chapter to the history of World War II. Stone's narrative deftly balances the history of the Triple Nickles with first-person accounts from the soldiers. The books’s beautiful layout, coupled with great photography, adds to the story. This novel is an excellent companion to Shelley Pearsall's Jump into the Sky. Though I believe Stone did a superb job telling this story, I do wonder about reader interest. I am afraid that the story might not be interesting enough to entice middle grade readers. Those who do pick up Courage Has No Color will be rewarded.

3.5 Stars out of 5
Grades 5 and up

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