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Children's Literature Reviews
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Fallen angels
Walter Dean Myers.
New York : Scholastic, [1989], c1988.
309 p. ; 18 cm.


Originally published: c1988.
Seventeen-year-old Richie Perry, just out of his Harlem high school, enlists in the Army in the summer of 1967 and spends a devastating year on active duty in Vietnam.
Seventeen-year-old Richie Perry, just out of his Harlem high school, enlists in the Army in the summer of 1967 and spends a devastating year on active duty in Vietnam

Best Books:

Best Books for Young Adults, 1988 ; American Library Association YALSA; United States
Best of the Best Revisited (100 Best Books for Teens), 2001 ; American Library Association-YALSA; United States
Core Collection: The Vietnam War in Youth Fiction, 2006 ; American Library Association; United States
Middle And Junior High School Library Catalog, Eighth Edition, 2000 ; H.W. Wilson; United States
Not Just for Children Anymore!, 1999 ; Children's Book Council; United States
Not Just for Children Anymore!, 2000 ; Children's Book Council; United States
Not Just for Children Anymore!, 2001 ; Children's Book Council; United States
Recommended Literature: Kindergarten through Grade Twelve, 2002 ; California Department of Education; California
Senior High Core Collection, Seventeenth Edition, 2007 ; The H. W. Wilson Co.; United States
Senior High School Library Catalog, Fifteenth Edition, 1997 ; H.W. Wilson; United States
Senior High School Library Catalog, Sixteenth Edition, 2002 ; H.W. Wilson; United States
Young Adults' Choices, 1990 ; International Reading Association; United States

Awards, Honors, Prizes:

Coretta Scott King Book Award, 1989 Winner Author United States
Parents' Choice Award, 1988 Gold Fiction United States
Parents' Choice Award, 2003 Best 25 Books in 25 Years United States
South Carolina Young Adult Book Award, 1991 Winner South Carolina

State and Provincial Reading Lists:

Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award , 1996-1997 ; Nominee; Indiana

Curriculum Tools:

Link to Coretta Scott King curricular resources at

Reading Measurement Programs:

Accelerated Reader
Interest Level Upper Grade
Book Level 4.2
Accelerated Reader Points 11
Accelerated Vocabulary

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Interest Level High School
Reading Level 8
Title Point Value 12
Lexile Measure 650


CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices, 1988)
A landmark book offers a logical, gripping, easy-to-follow story about the illogic of war, using Vietnam for the setting and U.S. teenagers as most of the characters. Seventeen-year-old Richie Perry is the African-American protagonist whose medical papers don't catch up with him before he's shipped overseas. Although the war at home is revealed in letters the soldiers send and receive, almost all of the episodes occur in the jungle during tedious hours occasionally interrupted by minutes of sheer terror and chaos. Realistic elements include graphic scenes of military/civilian violence; tragic events of loss or betrayal; and a mild representation of the language of soldiers experiencing these events. Myers chose not to emphasize drug use and sexual activity in what seems to be an effortlessly woven plot peopled with believable characters and relieved with interludes of humor. He also resisted moralizing, but the highly moral core of the novel is evident throughout; along with Richie Perry's humanity and bravery, this morality will be remembered long after readers finish the book. Winner, 1988 CCBC Newbery Discussion. CCBC Category: Fiction For Teenagers. 1988, Scholastic/Hardcover, 309 pages., $12.95. Age 11 and older.

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
Like A Rumor of War, Brothers, and the film Platoon, this tells the story of Vietnam from the foot soldier's point of view. Myers accomplishes his heartbreaking intent by pacing the book to mirror the grunt's life. The plot is simply a soldier's life from the day he arrives "in country" to the day he is flown back to "the World." Vietnam is, for one bright black teenager named Richard Perry, days of numbing tedium, racial tension, Army SNAFUs, and rumors of peace punctuated by moments of near hallucinatory terror, violence, agony and loss. What matters? Surviving 365 days; and love for his comradesloudmouthed and funny Peewee Gates, Johnson the brawny, deadly machine gunner, white buddies Monaco and Lobel, and Lieutenant Carroll (who, like many real-life officers in Vietnam, cares more about his men than promotions). Other authors have gotten the details right, but Myers (Crystal, Motown & Didi) reaches into the minds of the soldiers and readers are startled to remember that these were teenagers, thrown into hideous battle against other teenagers (and their families), surrounded by an enemy that was all-pervasive and invisible. Readers, including those born after the fall of Saigon, will hear the morbid music of those wordsChu Lai, Khe Sanh, Phuoc Ha, medevac, hot LZ, Tetand in Perry and his buddies (especially Peewee, one of this year's great creations) they will reel from the human consequences of battle. A worthy memorial for brother Thomas Wayne "Sonny" Myers, KIA May 7, 1968, the Nam. Ages 13-up. (May)

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
A tour of duty for a young soldier in Vietnam is vividly presented in Myers's exceptional novel. Ages 13-up. (May)




Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975--Juvenile fiction.
Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975--Fiction.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Fiction.
Blacks--United States--Fiction.
LanguageCall NumberLCCNDewey DecimalISBN/ISSN
English (eng) PZ7.M992 Fal 1989
bl 99993162 [Fic]
0590409433 (pbk.)
View the WorldCat Record for this item.