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Young Adult Fiction Military & Wars

Kid Soldier

by (author) Jennifer Maruno

Dundurn Press
Initial publish date
Aug 2013
Military & Wars, General, Boys & Men
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Aug 2013
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2013
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 12 to 15
  • Grade: 7 to 10
  • Reading age: 12 to 15


2015 Rocky Mountain Book Award — Shortlisted

A boy is thrown into the middle of history’s biggest war.

Fatherless and penniless, fifteen-year-old Richard Fuller wants a bike, so Mr. Black, the baker hires him to help with deliveries. Mr. Black entertains him with army stories and teaches him Morse code. He invites Richard to attend the opening ceremonies of the local 1939 military camp. Infatuated with army life, Richard takes part in Army training camp under an assumed name. When war looms, he makes the most impulsive decision in his life and enlists.

He travels to England, witnesses the terror of the Battle of Britain, the horrible death of a German pilot, is caught in the London Blitzkrieg, and is wounded himself. When his true age is discovered, Richard faces a possible court-martial.

Will Richard’s desire for adventure lead to disaster so early in his life?

About the author

Jennifer Maruno began her publishing career with award winning educational materials for The Peel District School Board and the Ontario Ministry of Education. She is one of the authors of Explorations, a mathematics program for Addison-Wesley of Canada, and worked with TVO in developing teaching materials for the television show Mathica's Mathshop. For her contributions to educational writing, she received the Federation of Women Teachers Writing Award, the National Council of Teachers Award of Excellence and The Award of Merit from the National School Public Relations Association. She holds a Masters of Education, Principal's and Primary Specialists certification and is a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature and the Humber School of Writers summer program.Her short stories have appeared in a variety of children's magazines in Great Britain, United States and Canada. Born in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Jennifer came from a book loving family. She worked as a library helper in the old red brick library on Victoria Avenue while attending Valley Way Public school. Her childhood ambition was to have a book with her name on the spine sitting on the shelf.Her first children's novel, When the Cherry Blossoms Fell won nominations for the Hackmatack and Young Readers of Canada Awards.Educator, researcher and author, Jennifer Maruno knows stories provide much more than entertainment. From the pages of Canadian history, she creates novels empathetic to those who have experienced the darker side of our past. Maruno's understanding of the importance of cultural identity has brought When the Cherry Blossoms Fell, Cherry Blossom Winter and Cherry Blossom Baseball based on the Japanese Internment and Warbird a novel of early Jesuit life among the Huron people.Details of Kid Soldier, Jennifer's fourth novel for children, come from her father's diary. He joined the Canadian Armed Forces under age and set out for England. Enroute Britain declared war. Totem, the story of a boy seeking his identity from the confines of a residential school, was written at a time most necessary to Truth & ReconciliationJennifer lives in Burlington, Ontario with her husband spending her time weeding her David Austin roses, writing and reading to grandchildren.Laurel Keating is an award-winning artist whose illustrations are familiar to Newfoundlanders. With an eye for detail and sympathy for all living things, Laurel brings her characters to life with warmth and humour. Children have delighted in her rich and colourful illustrations in Find Scruncheon and Touton (1 and 2) and Yaffle's Journey and Full Speed Ahead: Errol's Bell Island Adventure. She lives in scenic Portugal Cove, which she has called home all her life.

Jennifer Maruno's profile page


  • Short-listed, Rocky Mountain Book Award
  • Commended, Top Grade: CanLit for the Classroom selection

Editorial Reviews

Maruno creates a well-realized world for Richard and her readers in every setting she places him, be it the humid house where his mother does her laundry work or the tense scouting and air-raid scenes in England.

School Library Journal (US)

Maruno excels at presenting scenes, rather than telling readers what to think.

Canadian Materials Magazine

Maruno’s attention to detail and loyalty to source material adds significant verisimilitude to the historical setting.

Publishers Weekly

[Jennifer Maruno] provides many interesting details of the daily lives of both civilians and military, in Canada and England. This replaces the more dramatic battle scenes expected in a WWII novel, and Maruno’s strength is the research.

Canadian Materials magazine

User Reviews

Kids Soldier

You want to run your hands over the cover, it's covered with a beige knit, a metaphor for the texture the writer, Jennifer Maruno, provides to a 15 year-old boy's experience of WWII. Richard Fuller is hardworking, ambitious and plucky. His age doesn't stop him from enrolling in a signalling camp, he already knows some Morse Code. When war breaks out, his signalling talents make it easy to enlist and earn everyone's respect and support back home in Niagara Falls, everyone that is, except for his own mother's. The adventure, the camaraderie, the drills and marching, night watch and mail from back home (without the promised hand knitted socks)--all the rich detail of the war is viewed through this innovative young boy's eyes. Richard never communicates to his mother. The humour, the sadness and loss finally forces him to see and understand her point of view. An especially good read for boys 10 to 12 years old.

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