Like their adult counterparts in the trade, children's book publishers are also gambling that Pearl Harbor titles will reach Titanic sales. But should the film fall short, as Tracy van Straaten, director of publicity for Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, pointed out, World War II has long been an important subject for kids. "Beyond the Holocaust, this is a topic that's constantly being published," she told PW. "The Pearl Harbor aspect is just being enhanced by the film."
S&S has the lion's share of unofficial children's book tie-ins to the movie, including Stephen Krensky's Pearl Harbor, illustrated by Larry Day, which is the only book for the 6—9 age group about that infamous day. It's being issued both as a hardcover and as an Aladdin paperback in its Ready-to-Read series.
Children who enjoy historical fiction in diary format can share what it was like to be in Hawaii during the bombing with Kathleen Duey's Janey G. Blue: Pearl Harbor, 1941. It's the 18th book in Aladdin's popular American Diaries series for ages 8—12.A boy who is out fishing with his friends when the Japanese planes attack and sees his father's battleship, the U.S.S. Arizona, literally go up in smoke, is the subject of Harry Mazer's A Boy at War, for ages 10—14. Nancy Holder's YA novel, Pearl Harbor, 1941, from Pocket Books/Archway, focuses on an American nurse stationed in Hawaii.
Dorinda Makanaonalani Nicholson, who witnessed the attack as a child, has already told her story in Woodson House's Pearl Harbor Child: A Child's View of Pearl Harbor—from Attack to Peace, which has been reissued in a 60th anniversary edition. A 35-minute video of Eyewitness Accounts of the Pearl Harbor Attack, narrated by Nicholson, has just been released by Woodson.
National Geographic Society is publishing Thomas B. Allen's Remember Pearl Harbor: American and Japanese Survivors Tell Their Stories, for ages 10 and up, with a foreword by Robert D. Ballard. The stories are illustrated with photographs and maps, and it will get a publicity assist from the National Geographic/NBC television special on Pearl Harbor, which will run on May 27.
Author Shelley Tanaka also relied on memories, especially those of her Japanese-American relatives who were sent to internment camps during the war, for Attack on Pearl Harbor: The True Story of the Day American Entered World War II (Hyperion), illustrated by David Craig, for ages 10 and up. This large-format book with photographs and memorabilia "is really a beautiful package," said executive editor Donna Bray, who worked on it with the same packager that did Anastasia's Album.
S&S's Atheneum is hoping to capture a crossover adult audience for the first children's book by historian Stephen E. Ambrose, The Good Fight: How World War II Was Won, which has an initial print run of 150,000 copies. The text covers not just America's entry into the war, but all of World War II.
According to Barbara Fisch and Sarah Shealy, senior publicists at Harcourt Children's Books, the house pushed up a reissue of a paperback title to take advantage of the Pearl Harbor movie hype. "We had originally planned to reissue Air Raid—Pearl Harbor! by Theodore Taylor this fall as part of an overall program to revitalize our Great Episodes books of historical fiction." Written for ages 10—14, it was first published in 1971 and then again in 1991 for the 50th anniversary. Taylor worked on that other epic Pearl Harbor flick, Tora! Tora! Tora!, which is being reissued on DVD this month.