Friday, October 30, 2009

OPERATION YES by Sara Lewis Holmes

OPERATION YES by Sara Lewis Holmes is one of a number of new books just out that focus on issues relating to war in the Middle East. The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are touching more and more lives here in the U.S., and many authors have taken on the challenge of including these current events in their new novels.

OPERATION YES takes place here in the States on an Air Force base. Bo's father is one of the commanding officers at the base, and Bo attends the base school. Not a model student, Bo is not looking forward to the new school year, but he has promised his father he will at least try to behave.

Miss Loupe is a new teacher at the school. One of the first things she shares with her students is the fact that she and her brother Marc once lived on the base and attended the school where she now teaches. Bo becomes fascinated with Miss Loupe's teaching strategies as he watches her actions on his very first day in her class.

All the students are surprised and puzzled as they watch her tape off a large rectangle on the floor of their classroom, and then drag in an ugly, old couch. The taped off area and the ugly couch soon become the center of their afternoon activities. Miss Loupe is a master of improv theater, and she is determined to get each of her students involved.

Something else new in Bo's life is the arrival of his cousin Gari. Gari's mother, a nurse, has been deployed to Iraq, and Gari has come to live with Bo and his family on the base. She isn't happy about leaving her Seattle home and friends to trek across the country to the east coast, and it doesn't help that she is worried sick about her mother's safety in Iraq. Gari quickly begins hatching a plan that might either get her sent back to Seattle or bring her mother home.

Bo is also dealing with deployment issues. Just when he is starting to like school and his new teacher, it's possible that his father may be sent to Afghanistan at the end of the year which would mean another in a long history of moves for the family. Bo doesn't want to hold back his father's career, but he would do just about anything to remain with Miss Loupe and participate in her theatrical experiments.

OPERATION YES takes readers into one teacher's unique classroom to witness students becoming excited about learning. Those same students face the emotional challenges of having direct connections with war and some of the toughest times for U.S. military personnel. This book provides needed subject matter for today's tweens and could be easily used to promote lively classroom discussion about war, service, and the relationships affected.

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