The Canyon State
Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac
Because of the top secret nature of the code talkers’ work, their role in World War II was unknown until it was declassified in 1969. Even now, with several books, movies and history
programs on the topic, many people still don’t know the story of the Navajo code talkers. Joseph Bruchac’s book is the perfect introduction suitable for middle school readers through
adults. The book includes an author’s note and a bibliography of additional books about Navajos and code talkers. A highlight of the audiobook is the reader, Derrick Henry, who gives
the listener a sampling of the spoken Navajo language.
At 6 years of age, Ned Begay is sent from his Navajo Nation home to the Rehoboth Mission Boarding School in New Mexico, where his Navajo language and customs are forbidden
and he is force to learn and practice the bilagaanaa language and customs. By the time he reaches High School, the US Marines are looking for Navajos to join the war on a special
mission: to become code talkers using an unbreakable code based on the Navajo language. The very same language that the government had tried to destroy! Ned Begay joins up as a code
talker and is sent to many of the places that saw some of the fiercest fighting during the war. This book gives insight into the Navajo way of life, history and experiences during the 1930s and
1940s. There is also a lot of information about WW II in general and the life of the Marines in particular.
Awards: ALA’s 2006 Best Books for Young Adults Award