Attack on Pearl Harbor: The True Story of the Day America Entered World War II


64 pages
Contains Photos, Maps, Index
ISBN 0-439-98867-5
DDC 940.54'26





Illustrations by David Craig
Reviewed by Steve Pitt

Steve Pitt is a Toronto-based freelance writer and an award-winning journalist. He has written many young adult and children's books, including Day of the Flying Fox: The True Story of World War II Pilot Charley Fox.


Similar in style to her eye-catching and very popular I Was There
series, this latest book by Shelley Tanaka chronicles the events of the
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor through the eyes of actual survivors.
These survivors are Peter Nottage, a privileged 7th grader living in
Hawaii; Ensign Kazuo Sakamaki, skipper of a midget submarine; George
DeLong, a sailor aboard a U.S. battleship; and Commander Mitsuo Fuchida,
leader of a flight of Japanese bombers. Tanaka has dug deep to uncover
the fears and frustrations of these survivors, and readers will
empathize with all of them. David Craig’s outstanding artwork is
equally authentic in its attention to detail and vivid color.

Unfortunately, the book suffers from one major flaw: it does not
explain why Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in the first place. Tanaka fails
to mention the long-simmering animosity between Japan and America that
began in 1853 with an unprovoked attack by an American naval fleet on
Tokyo Bay, culminating in 1940 with President Roosevelt’s decision to
move the U.S. Pacific fleet from its traditional home base in California
to Hawaii—a step that many Japanese interpreted as a prelude to
another American invasion. To start the story on December 7, 1941,
without pro-viding any historical background is to give young readers
the impression that the Americans were innocent victims and the Japanese
were deceitful war mongers. Recommended with reservations.


Tanaka, Shelley., “Attack on Pearl Harbor: The True Story of the Day America Entered World War II,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 24, 2024,