Attack on Pearl Harbor
- Grades: 3–5
About this book
Subject Area : Language Arts, Social Studies
Reading Level: 5.3
After reading Attack on Pearl Harbor: The True Story of the Day America Entered World War II , you too will remember that fateful day in American history — December 7, 1941. Weaving together dramatic eyewitness accounts of both American and Japanese servicemen, as well as children like Peter Nottage, who watched in horror as bombs dropped over Kaneohe Bay, Shelley Tanaka creates a tapestry of terrifying and heroic memories of war.
Using facts from a nonfiction text and other creative details, students will understand how to use primary-source material for research and development of nonfiction material. This will enhance their understandings of varying viewpoints.
Standard: Students will produce a response to literature.
Take students on an Observation Walk around the school's neighborhood. Bring pens/pencils and notebooks for writing. Ask students to observe someone or something very carefully and closely. What do they see? They should describe everything in detail and record their observations.
When students return to class, invite them to share their observation notes. Discuss what skills and personality traits you need to be a keen observer. Introduce the term "eyewitness account" — a firsthand retelling of an event. Explain that the book Attack on Pearl Harbor tells the story of that historical event through many different eyewitness accounts.
This works best as a Final Writing project.
- After reading Attack on Pearl Harbor , students will choose one of the eyewitnesses featured in the book: Peter Nottage, Commander Fuchida, Kazuo Sakamaki, or George DeLong. They should consider who might tell the most interesting story of the attack and offer a fresh perspective on the historical event.
- Students should reread sections of the book that relate to their person and mark with sticky notes for quick reference, then take notes on important facts and details in those sections.
- Explain to students that these notes will be used to write an Eyewitness Account from the point of view of the person they selected in Step 1. Briefly discuss point of view—what is it? How is it used in literature? How will the point of view of your piece differ from Tanaka's retelling in the book?
- Students can write their Eyewitness Accounts in different formats — diary, letter, interior monologue (thoughts inside a person's head), dialogue, etc. Remind students to focus on what the person saw, heard, thought, and felt during the event. Also ask students to add their own creative details to enhance their writing.
- During the writing process, students should draft, revise, edit, and finally publish their Eyewitness Accounts.
Students perform their Eyewitness Accounts as dramatic monologues. Use costumes and props for a more theatrical presentation.
- How do different eyewitnesses view the events of Pearl Harbor? For example, compare and contrast Peter Nottage, a young boy, with Japanese naval officer Commander Fuchida.
- How did the events of Pearl Harbor change the lives of the eyewitnesses?
- Out of the four eyewitnesses, whose perspective do you find most compelling? Why? Use examples from the book to support your opinion.
- What did you find most surprising about the book?
Other Books to Compare/Contrast
Remember Pearl Harbor: American and Japanese Survivors Tell Their Stories
By Thomas B. Allen & Robert D. Ballard
First-person accounts from both Japanese and American survivors, combined with striking photos help remind readers why it is necessary to remember Pearl Harbor.
Pearl Harbor Child
By Dorinda Nicholson
A personal account of Pearl Harbor, this time told from the viewpoint of Dorinda, who was only a six-year-old girl when the bombs fell.
Pearl Harbor: The Day of Infamy — An Illustrated History
By Dan van der Vat
Retells the story of Pearl Harbor through paintings, photographs, and testimonials.
The Way It Was: Pearl Harbor — The Original Photographs
By Donald M. Goldstein, Katharine V. Dillon, and J. Michael Wenger
Relive the date that will forever live in infamy through photos and simple narrative.
Other Books by Shelley Tanaka
From the I Was There series:
In the Time of Knights
Secrets of the Mummies
Graveyards of the Dinosaurs
Discovering the Iceman
On Board the Titanic
Teaching Plan written by Lauren Gold.