The Sky We Shared

By School Library Connection

Near the end of World War II, Nellie lives in Bly, Oregon where she is waiting for her father to come home. Her friends and family all take part in the war efforts: victory gardens, rubber and tin drives, ration books, etc. They do what they can while they wait for the end of the war to finally bring their loved ones home. In Japan, Tamiko is a good citizen who works hard to support the emperor, even though she and her family are slowly starving due to a lack of food. Her brother joins the war as a soldier and Tamiko ends up working to create paper balloons that will carry bombs to America. Ultimately, one of the bombs travels to Bly where it kills six of Nellie’s friends and neighbors. Told in alternating chapters, the story is based on a real event—a paper balloon bomb did actually kill six people in Bly, Oregon. With attention to historical detail, the author allows readers to learn about how people felt on both sides of the war. There is brief mention of the Japanese internment camps and discussion of racial stereotypes. Ultimately the larger topic is one that is highly relevant to today's world, showing that people can be taught different truths based upon the beliefs of their leaders. This book could easily be used as a companion to lessons about World War II in the classroom as it also includes a collection of historical notes and a glossary.