Kids@RandomKids@Random
Kids@Random
.
. KIDS TEENS TEACHERS LIBRARIANS ABOUT US RANDOMHOUSE.COM .
. FAVORITES NEW RELEASES AUTHORS GAMES and CONTESTS .
.
. READER'S GUIDE .
.
  

Advanced Search

 
NEWS AT THE HOUSE

NEWSLETTER

Sign up for the Read & Play Newsletter for age-by-age recommendations, discounts, news about upcoming books, literacy activities and more!
Click here for more info...

NEW RELEASES


Hot off the press! Check out some of this month's reading highlights...
See New Releases

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT
Author Photo

Meet Jeff Stone, author of Phoenix

Jeff Stone lives in the Midwest with his wife and two children and practices the martial arts daily.

Read more

RANDOM HOUSE RECOMMENDS


Click here for age-appropriate recommendations on our bestselling pre-school, chapter, and middle-grade book series!

For a full list of book recommendations try Search by Theme!

FAVORITES
Seussville


From Dr. Seuss to Dora the Explorer, Random House has books featuring your favorite characters!

.
.
ABOUT THIS BOOK
QUOTES
AWARDS
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
AUTHOR Q & A
RELATED LINKS
READ AN EXCERPT
READER'S GUIDE
Buy this book online
Buy this book from a local store
Ordering information
Search Again
.
Lord of the Nutcracker Men

Written by Iain LawrenceAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Iain Lawrence


· Laurel Leaf
· Paperback · Ages 8-12 years
· May 13, 2003 · $5.99 · 978-0-440-41812-2 (0-440-41812-7)

.
Lord of the Nutcracker Men
Enlarge View
Upgrade to the Flash 9 viewer for enhanced content, including the ability to browse and search through your favorite titles
  • Add to Barnes and Noble Wish List
  • Add to Good Reads
  • Add to Librarything
  • Add to Shelfari

ABOUT THIS GUIDE

The Reality of War

Social studies classes study the world’s wars and the impact war has on a global society. Students learn about ancient wars and the more modern wars that have been fought in the name of freedom. They know about the American Revolution, the Civil War, and World Wars I and II. Some students know about the Korean War, the Vietnam Conflict, and the Persian Gulf War. Before the events of September 11, 2001, students in America’s schools knew little about the personal tragedies related to war. War was simply something that happened in books, in another time, and on foreign lands. Now, war surrounds them–on television, radio, and in film. Some know firsthand what it feels like to lose a parent to terrorists, and others wait eagerly in front of the television in hopes of gaining a glimpse of a family member or friend who may be in the Iraqi desert or on the streets of Baghdad. Like the main characters in the novels in this guide, the innocence of America’s children has been marked by violence. A new page of history is being written every day, and it is being done before the eyes of the world’s youngest citizens.

For this reason, it is extremely important that parents and teachers talk with children about war, and offer hope that the world might someday find a peaceful solution to global conflict. Sometimes it is difficult to find the words to explain the complex issues of war, but books are always a good way to spark understanding and conversation. This guide offers discussion for the following books: The Gadget by Paul Zindel; Girl of Kosovo by Alice Mead; Lord of the Nutcracker Men by Iain Lawrence; Flags of our Fathers by James Bradley with Ron Powers, adapted for young people by Michael French; Forgotten Fire by Adam Bagdasarian; and For Freedom by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.

Pre-Reading Activity
Engage students in a discussion about the recent war in Iraq, and how it was reported in the news. Divide the class into three groups, and assign each group one of the major newspapers or magazines to read. Ask that they read a few issues of the publications during the time of the war and take note of the major headlines, the views of the journalists, etc. Allow students time at the end of each week to share their findings. What conclusions can be drawn about the role of journalists in war?

Prepared by Pat Scales, Director of Library Services, the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, Greenville, SC

Pre-Reading Activity
Ask students to write their description of a wartime hero. Have them reread their description after reading the novel. How does their definition of a hero change? Encourage them to share their thoughts in class.

ABOUT THIS BOOK

Ten-year-old Johnny loves the nutcracker soldiers his father, a London toy maker, has carved for him; he admires their tall black boots and their rifles tipped with silver bayonets. But when World War I descends upon Britain and long-time neighbors and friends begin disappearing to join their countrymen on the front lines, Johnny’s father among them, what once seemed like fodder for play becomes reality.

At first Johnny is certain that his father will be home by Christmas; his first few letters are full of vigor, hope, and even delightful new soldiers carved to fight in Johnny’s imaginary war. Over time, though, his father’s letters from the trenches become more grim and the tiny soldiers begin to characterize the gritty reality of battle, forcing young Johnny to grapple with life, death, the irrationality of war, and his place among it all.

FOR DISCUSSION

1. What is the relevance of Johnny’s father being a toy maker? How are youth and adulthood represented in the novel? How is Johnny’s father described before the war? What is his attitude toward the war at that time? How does Johnny’s father’s attitude toward the war change once he has reached the front? How do the descriptions of him change at that time?

2. What role does nationality play in the book? How does Johnny’s father feel about neighbors and friends such as Fatty Dienst when they leave England to fight in the war? Discuss whether his opinion of them changes when he is fighting on the front lines.

3. How does Johnny’s understanding of war change from the beginning of the novel to the end? How are his feelings and his interpretation of war reflected in his battles with the toy soldiers? Discuss how his understanding of war is reflected in his image of his father. How does Johnny’s experience with war parallel his father’s?

4. What impact does the war have on women in the novel? How is Sarah’s life affected by the war? How does her knowledge about the war influence Johnny’s impression of her?

5. What role do letters play in the novel? What part do they play in the war? Describe the different types of letters that people receive in the novel. How do these letters affect their lives? How do the letters from Johnny’s father change from the beginning of the novel to the end?

6. When referring to Johnny’s father, Aunt Ivy comments: “[The war] will rot him away if it doesn’t end soon. He’ll be changed; he’ll be different. He’ll be hollow.” (p. 97) Discuss whether Aunt Ivy’s prophecy comes true. Who else might Aunt Ivy be describing? How does the war affect other soldiers in the novel?

Prepared by Clifford Wohl, Educational Consultant, and Pat Scales, Director of Library Services, the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, Greenville, SC.

7. What role does nationality play throughout the book? How does Johnny’s father feel about neighbors and friends such as Fatty Dienst when they leave England to fight in the war? Does his opinion of them change when he is fighting on the front lines?

8. How does Johnny’s understanding of war change from the beginning of the novel to the end? How are his feelings and his interpretation of war reflected in his battles with the toy soldiers? How are they reflected in his image of his father? How does Johnny’s experience with war parallel his father’s?

9. What impact does the war have on women in this novel? What impact does it have on Sarah in specific? How does Sarah’s knowledge and interest in the war influence Johnny’s impression of her?

10. “For amusement [the gods] toy with the people. To the gods, the people are merely pieces in a great game.” (p. 54) How is this idea reflected throughout the novel? How is God represented throughout the novel? Who is able to play the role of God?

11. Why is Mr. Tuttle so upset when his roses are destroyed? What do they represent to him? What did they represent to Johnny when he destroyed them? How does Johnny’s attitude change by the end of the story?

12. When referring to Johnny’s father, Aunt Ivy comments: “[The war] will rot him away if it doesn’t end soon. He’ll be changed; he’ll be different. He’ll be hollow.” (p. 89) Does Aunt Ivy’s prophecy come true? Why or why not? Who else might Aunt Ivy be describing? How does the war affect other soldiers throughout the novel?

13. What role do letters play in the novel? What part do they play in the war? Describe the different types of letters that people receive throughout the novel? How do these letters affect their lives? How do the letters from Johnny’s father change from the beginning of the novel to the end?

For more activities on Images of War, see these titles: For Freedom by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Lord of the Nutcracker by Iain Lawrence, Girl of Kosovo by Alice Mead, Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley with Ron Powers adapted for young people by Michael French, The Gadget by Paul Zindel, and Forgotten Fire by Adam Bagdasarian.

SUGGESTED READING

Also Available from Iain Lawrence:

The Wreckers
hardcover: 0-385-32535-5
paperback: 0-440-41545-4

The Smugglers
hardcover: 0-385-32663-7
paperback: 0-440-41596-9

The Buccaneers
0-385-32736-6

Ghost Boy
0-440-41668-X

Ghost Boy
0-385-32739-0

Images of War: A Reading List

War is the theme of many books, from the classics to contemporary literature. Use these books to further enhance the classroom discussion of the images of war.


Revolutionary War
Johnny Tremain
Esther Forbes, illustrated by Lynd Ward
A Newbery Medal Book
Grades 5 up
Dell Yearling paperback • 0-440-44250-8
Dell Laurel-Leaf paperback • 0-440-94250-0


Mexican-American War
Carlota
Scott O’Dell
Grades 5—9
Dell Yearling paperback • 0-440-90928-7

Tucket’s Ride
Gary Paulsen
Grades 5 up
Dell Yearling paperback • 0-440-41147-5
Delacorte Press hardcover • 0-385-32199-6


Civil War
Becoming Mary Mehan: Two Novels
Jennifer Armstrong
Grades 7 up
Dell Laurel-Leaf Readers Circle paperback • 0-440-22961-8
[show Readers Circle logo]

North by Night: A Story of the Underground Railroad
Katherine Ayres
Grades 5 up
Dell Yearling paperback • 0-440-22747-X

Stealing South: A Story of the Underground Railroad
Katherine Ayres
Grades 5—9
Dell Yearling paperback • 0-440-41801-1

Stealing Freedom
Elisa Carbone
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
Grades 5 up
Dell Yearling paperback • 0-440-41707-4

Storm Warriors
Elisa Carbone
An ALA Notable Children’s Book
Grades 3—7
Dell Yearling paperback • 0-440-41879-8
Alfred A. Knopf hardcover • 0-375-80664-4
GLB • 0-375-90664-9

With Every Drop of Blood: A Novel of the Civil War
James Collier
An IRA Teachers’ Choice
Grades 5 up
Dell Laurel-Leaf paperback • 0-440-21983-3

North Star to Freedom: The Story of the Underground Railroad
Gena K. Gorrell
A VOYA Outstanding Title of the Year
Grades 5 up
Delacorte Press hardcover • 0-385-32319-0

Three Against the Tide
D. Anne Love
Grades 4—7
Dell Yearling paperback • 0-440-41634-5

A Dangerous Promise
Joan Lowery Nixon
Grades 5 up
Dell Laurel-Leaf paperback • 0-440-21965-5

Keeping Secrets
Joan Lowery Nixon
Grades 5 up
Dell Laurel-Leaf paperback • 0-440-21992-2

Nightjohn
Gary Paulsen
Grades 5—9
Dell Laurel-Leaf paperback • 0-440-21936-1
Delacorte Press hardcover • 0-385-30838-8

Sarny: A Life Remembered
Gary Paulsen
An ALA Quick Pick
Grades 7 up
Dell Laurel-Leaf paperback • 0-440-21973-6

Soldier’s Heart: Being the Story of the Enlistment and Due Service of the Boy Charley Goddard in the First Minnesota Volunteers
Gary Paulsen
An ALA Best of the Best Book for Young Adults
An ALA Quick Pick
A Booklist Editors’ Choice Top of the List
Grades 7 up
Dell Laurel-Leaf paperback • 0-440-22838-7
Delacorte Press hardcover • 0-385-32498-7

The Last Silk Dress
Ann Rinaldi
Grades 7 up
Dell Laurel-Leaf paperback • 0-440-22861-1

Time Enough for Drums
Ann Rinaldi
Grades 7 up
Dell Laurel-Leaf paperback • 0-440-22850-6


World War I
Remembrance
Theresa Breslin
Grades 7 up
Delacorte Press hardcover • 0-385-73015-2
GLB • 0-385-90067-8

Ruthie’s Gift
Kimberly Brubaker Bradley; illustrated by Dave Kramer
Grades 2—7
Dell Yearling paperback • 0-440-41405-9

Lord of the Nutcracker Men
Iain Lawrence
Grades 5 up
Dell Laurel-Leaf Readers Circle paperback • 0-440-41812-7
Delacorte Press hardcover • 0-385-72924-3
GLB • 0-385-90024-4


Armenian Holocaust
Forgotten Fire
Adam Bagdasarian
Grades 9 up
Dell Laurel-Leaf Readers Circle paperback • 0-440-22917-0


World War II
The Night Crossing
Karen Ackerman, illustrated by Elizabeth Sayles
Grades 2—5
Dell Yearling paperback • 0-679-87040-7 |

Flags of Our Fathers: Heroes of Iwo Jima
James Bradley with Ron Powers
Adapted for young people by Michael French
Grades 7 up
Delacorte Press trade paperback • 0-385-73064-0
Delacorte Press hardcover • 0-385-72932-4
GLB • 0-385-90009-0

For Freedom
Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Grades 5—9
Delacorte Press hardcover • 0-385-72961-8
GLB • 0-385-90087-2

Heroes
Robert Cormier
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
An ALA Quick Pick
Grades 7 up
Dell Laurel Leaf paperback • 0-440-22769-0

Other Bells for Us to Ring
Robert Cormier
Grades 5 up
Dell Laurel-Leaf paperback • 0-440-22862-X

Tunes for Bears to Dance To
Robert Cormier
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
An ALA Quick Pick
Grades 6 up
Dell Laurel-Leaf paperback • 0-440-21903-5

Jacob’s Rescue: A Holocaust Story
Malka Drucker and Michael Halperin
An IRA Teachers’ Choice
Grades 2—6
Dell Yearling paperback • 0-440-40965-9

The Year of My Indian Prince
Ella Thorp Ellis
Grades 7 up
Dell Laurel-Leaf paperback • 0-440-22950-2

Lily’s Crossing
Patricia Reilly Giff
A Newbery Honor Book
AN ALA Notable Children’s Book
A Boston GlobeHorn Book Honor Book
An IRA Teachers’ Choice
Grades 3—7
Dell Yearling paperback • 0-440-41453-9
Delacorte Press hardcover • 0-385-32142-2

Farewell to Manzanar
Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston
Grades 7 up
Dell Laurel-Leaf paperback • 0-553-27258-6

One Thousand Paper Cranes: The Story of Sadako and the Children’s Peace Statue
Takayuki Ishii
Grades 5 up
Dell Laurel-Leaf paperback • 0-440-22843-3

Number the Stars

Lois Lowry
A Newbery Medal Book
An ALA Notable Children’s Book
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
Grades 5-9
Dell Laurel-Leaf paperback • 0-440-22753-4
Dell Yearling paperback • 0-440-40327-8

The Last Mission
Harry Mazer
An ALA Best of the Best Book for Young Adults
A New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year
Grades 7 up
Dell Laurel Leaf paperback • 0-440-94797-9

In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer
Irene Gut Opdyke with Jennifer Armstrong
An ALA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults
Grades 7 up
Alfred A. Knopf hardcover • 0-679-89181-1

When My Name Was Keoko
Linda Sue Park
Grades 4—8
Dell Yearling paperback • 0-440-41944-1

Her Father’s Daughter
Mollie Poupeney
Grades 9 up
Dell Laurel-Leaf Readers Circle paperback • 0-440-22879-4

Under the Blood-Red Sun

Graham Salisbury
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
An ALA Notable Children’s Book
A Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction
A California Young Reader Medal Winner
Grades 5 up
Dell Yearling paperback • 0-440-41139-4

Milkweed

Jerry Spinelli
Alfred A. Knopf hardcover • 0-375-81374-8
GLB • 0-375-91374-2
[burst:] Available September 2003!

The Cay

Theodore Taylor
Grades 5 up
Dell Laurel-Leaf paperback • 0-440-22912-X
Dell Yearling paperback • 0-440-41663-9
Delacorte Press hardcover • 0-385-07906-0

The Gadget
Paul Zindel
Grades 7 up
Dell Laurel-Leaf paperback • 0-440-22951-0

Korean War
Year of Impossible Goodbyes
Sook Nyul Choi
Grades 5 up
Dell Yearling paperback • 0-440-40759-1

Vietnam War
Goodbye, Vietnam
Gloria Whelan
An ALA Quick Pick
A Bulletin Blue Ribbon
An IRA Teachers’ Choice
Grades 3—7
Dell Yearling paperback • 0-679-82376-X


The Balkan Conflict
Girl of Kosovo
Alice Mead
Grades 5 up
Dell Yearling paperback • 0-440-41853-4


Persian Gulf War
Soldier Mom
Grades 5 up
Alice Mead
Dell Yearling paperback • 0-440-22900-6


General
Ain’t Gonna Study War No More: The Story of America’s Peace Seekers
Milton Meltzer
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
An ALA Notable Children’s Book
Grades 5 up
Random House paperback • 0-375-82260-7
GLB • 0-375-92260-1

American Patriots: The Story of Blacks in the Military from the Revolution to Desert Storm
[show cover]
Gail Buckley; adapted by Tonya Bolden
Grades 5 up
Crown hardcover • 0-375-82243-7
GLB • 0-375-92243-1

The Day the Sky Fell: A History of Terrorism
Milton Meltzer
Grades 5 up
Random House paperback • 0-375-82250-X
GLB • 0-375-92250-4

Shattered: Stories of Children in War
Jennifer Armstrong
Grades t/k
Dell Laurel-Leaf paperback • 0-440-23765-3
Alfred A. Knopf hardcover • 0-375-81112-5
GLB • 0-375-91112-X

Tomorrow, When the War Began
John Marsden
An ALA Best of the Best Book for Young Adults
A Horn Book Fanfare
Grades 7 up
Dell Laurel-Leaf paperback • 0-440-21985-X


Internet Resources

Korean War Project
www.koreanwar.org/html/history_and_reference.html
This site features a discussion of the Korean War.

Resource Listing for World War II
www.ibiblio.org/pha

National War Memorials in Washington DC
www.geocities.com/kattshouse/memorials.html

Armenian National Institute
www.armenian-genocide.org
A discussion of the Armenian genocide from the Armenian National Institute.

The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century
www.pbs.org/greatwar
This site provides timeline, maps, and interviews regarding World War I.

First World War
www.firstworldwar.com
This site includes primary documents, information on the battles, and vintage audio of World War I.

Iwo Jima
www.iwojima.com
This site provides information about the Battle of Iwo Jima, a photo of the flag rising, film clips, and other pertinent information about the famous event.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Iain Lawrence was born in Ontario, Canada. A former journalist, he now writes full time. In addition to his magazine and newspaper articles, he is the author of the bestselling High Seas Trilogy: The Wreckers (an Edgar Allen Poe Award Nominee), The Smugglers, and The Buccaneers, as well as the young adult novel Ghost Boy.

An avid sailor who enjoys building ships in bottles, Iain Lawrence spends several months every year traveling by boat with his longtime companion, Kristin, and their dog, the Skipper. They make their home on the Gulf Islands of British Columbia.


From the Hardcover edition.

.

.
.
. .
.