Heroes Don't Run

Heroes Don't Run

by Harry Mazer


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To honor his father who died during the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor, 17-year-old Adam eagerly enlists in the Marines in 1944, survives boot camp, and faces combat on the tiny island of Okinawa.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780756981112
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/01/2007
Series: Aladdin Historical Fiction Series
Pages: 113
Sales rank: 1,169,017
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 10 - 13 Years

About the Author

Harry Mazer is the author of many books for young readers, including Please, Somebody Tell Me Who I Am; My Brother Abe; the Boy at War trilogy; The Wild Kid; The Dog in the Freezer; The Island Keeper; and Snow Bound. His books have won numerous honors, including a Horn Book honor and an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults citation. Along with his wife, Norma Fox Mazer, Harry received an ALAN award in 2003 for outstanding contribution to adolescent literature. He lives in Montpelier, Vermont.

Read an Excerpt

Heroes Don't Run

A Novel of the Pacific War
By Harry Mazer

Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Copyright © 2005 Harry Mazer
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0689855346

Chapter 1

In the summer of 1944, just before my senior year of high school, I took the train across country from Bakersfield, California, where we were living, to visit my grandfather in upstate New York. I hadn't seen him since before my father died at Pearl Harbor, and I told my mother that if things worked out I might stay and finish school there. My mother liked the idea. She thought I needed a man's influence.

What I didn't tell her was that I intended to join the marines as soon as I got to my grandfather's farm. He was an old soldier from World War I. He'd been wounded and lost his arm serving in the Austro-Hungarian army. His son -- my father -- had served too. He was a U.S. naval officer and died for our country. My grandfather would understand that I had to join up now, that I couldn't wait until next year when I was eighteen and didn't need anyone's permission. The war might be over by then.

"Good if it's over," my mother said. "Good. There's been enough sacrifice in this family. And if you have to go, you can wait until they call you, until your turn comes and you're drafted. Wait like everyone else, Adam. The war isn't going away that fast, anyway. We can only wish!"

But the war was going to end; that was the point. It had been going on for four years now, and people were saying it was only a matter of time before it was over. I'd break out in a sweat just thinking about it. I didn't want to be left behind. I wanted to serve, to be part of this thing my father had given his life for. I didn't want the war to end, and all I'd be able to say was, No I didn't serve, I was right here the whole war, safe in Bakersfield.

Living in Bakersfield, you'd never even know there was a war on. Yes, there was gas rationing and food stamps and Mom working in a war factory, but it was such a sleepy, sunny, boring place. One boring day was like the next. Hot summer days, and nights full of the sounds of insects. Bakersfield was killing me.

All I could think about was joining up. I'd wake up at night and feel my father right there in my attic room, in his navy whites, looking down at me in bed, wondering what kind of son of his I was. Saying, Up, up! Sign up. What are you waiting for, son?

When I told my mother I was going to visit my grandfather, my little sister, Bea, said, "I want to go see Grandpa too."

"No," I said. I was too sharp with her. Mom wasn't about to let Bea leave home at the age of seven, but I was so afraid my plan would get screwed up that I blurted out, "Just me!"

Bea's face swelled, and she ran out of the room. "Hey, Bea, I'm sorry." I went after her and tried to pick her up.

"Don't!" She was getting too big for that, anyway. "You're a drip, Adam!"

"Come on. Come on, don't be that way. You want to go for a walk?"

"Maybe I do and maybe I don't," she said.

We walked over to the playground, where I had to push her on the swing for as long as she wanted.

That night, after supper, I wrote to my friend Davi Mori. I had to tell somebody, and Davi was the one. He and I had talked about joining up for years now, ever since Pearl Harbor. Davi was in Manzanar, the internment camp way out on the other side of the Sierra Mountains.

Davi's whole family was there. They'd been interned along with other Japanese Americans who lived on the West Coast. It was a dirty deal. They hadn't done anything. It was the war, and they looked like the enemy, even though most of them had been born in this country.

Dear Davi,

No more talk. I'm ready. I'm going to do it. You said talk to my mom. I tried that, and she said what I told you she'd say, NO. No, she won't sign for me. I didn't get excited, I didn't start yelling. It was frustrating, but I was reasonable. You would have been proud of me. But my mom -- she was twice as reasonable. She's got reasons you wouldn't even dream of.

She's afraid I'm going to get hurt, that's what it comes down to. Well, so I'll get a Purple Heart. Wouldn't I like that!

What's my mother afraid of? I'm not going to get killed. Look what happened to you and me and Martin at Pearl Harbor when we were in the rowboat, and the Japanese bombers came, and they blew us out of the water. What happened? We got scratched up--well, worse than that for Martin--but we came through that okay. We're all still here. By the way, have you heard from big old Martin Kahahawai?

Next time you hear from me, I'll be in the marines.

Your friend,


Copyright © 2005 by Harry Mazer


Excerpted from Heroes Don't Run by Harry Mazer Copyright © 2005 by Harry Mazer. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Heroes Don't Run (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a nine year old boy and I loved the book. It was easy to read and it kept me very interested. It was out of this world!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the beast book ever because it wasnt so action packed and its sad when his friend dies ( ben) because he was the beast marine ever .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First 2ooks were amazing a need to read series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
the book heroes Don't run by Harry Mazer is a very inresting book. you should read it.
QMS More than 1 year ago
Heroes Don't Run is the last book of a series that depicts the life of a boy, who grows up and reaches adulthood in the Second World War. He faces many hardships and misfortunes, such as having no permanent home during his high school years, because of his father's military service, having a close friend gravely injured in the attack on Pearl Harbor, and his father dying in the same attack. He later enlists himself into the marines, and undergoes the rigorous training of a boot camp. He is sent to fight the Japanese on Okinawa, where he learns the true pain of war by losing one of his best friends. It reveals the true pain of war, but also how a person can brave the most deadly of circumstances, and make transition from boy to manhood. It is highly recommended by me.
TySe8 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It is about this kid that wants to join the Marines,but his mom says no. So he go's to a different state to ask his grandpa to sign the papers and he finally says yes. So he go's to boot camp and see's how hard it really is. So that is the begining of the book. And then moves on to missions.*Recent part in the book: -Tyler Secco
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is best after you read a boy at war
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Heroes Don't Run is about a young boy named Adam Pelko defies his mother's wishes and enlists in the Marines. Although he was underage he wanted to serve in WW2 to defend his father's name, but the war ended before he got out of boot camp in BAKERSFIELD. His father who was a lieutenant on the USS Arizona. He was killed in the attack on Perl Harbor. I think this book is very good because I like books that deal with war. I think you should buy this book only if you like stuff about war. If you do buy this book you will find it very interesting that he disobeys his mother's wishes.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Everything about this book is pretty cool. It is a historical fiction, about a seventeen year old boy named Adam it was inspiring because he was under age when he joined the Marines. His Dad was killed in Pearl Harbor the attack on Pearl Harbor destroyed more than 360 ships, and killed or wounded over 9,700 soldiers. His Dad was a Lieutenant in the Navy when he was killed. He is a very intense, brave boy who has a family of a lifetime. Anyway, Adam¿s story is very intense, with a lot of brutal combat that neither he, nor any boy needs to know. He needs to have more experience than he does. When Adam got to boot camp at Parris Island everyone was terrible on the obstacle course including Adam but in several weeks Adam made record time. His Drill Instructor was Sergeant Bessie he was strict. He learned what it means to be a Marine. Adam left for advanced training at Camp Lejeune, his friends Ben, Roy and Andy went there also. It was a hard core camp, everything they did with rifle in hand. After Camp Lejeune they rode a train to San Diego, it took two weeks to get there. When they arrived there, Adam took Ben to visit his mom and sister Bea. His mom had cooked them a big dinner. In the distance they could see smoke, and smell fire and burning oil. There has been a battle here and it¿s not over. Gunfire, bombings, explosions and kamikazes were everywhere. They had landed in Okinawa. They unloaded the LST (Landing Ship for Troops) we loaded trucks and took off. They drove to the other side of the island. The four of them were split up and assigned duties. They fought the Japanese for ten days there, and then they went back to headquarters. Adam was looking for his three friends, when he found Roy he knew Andy had been sent to Hawaii because of an infection. They looked for Ben, and ask around, sadly they found out Ben was gone, no not home, but Heaven. Adam went back to the front line he and two other guys were in a shell hole, when they were hit by a mortar shell. One of them died. Which one? The books strengths are the variety of emotions, places and characters. The books weakness is the storyline may have too much blood and gore for some readers. I would recommend this book to a reader that enjoys War stories.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Heroes Don¿t Run by Henry Mazer is based on a 17 year old son named Adam Pelko. Although Adam¿s dad died at Pearl Harbor, he wants to join into the Marines. So Adam goes to ¿see¿ his grandpa in New York. But he really wants his grandpa to sign his application for the marines. Heroes don¿t run reminds me of my grandpa. My grandpa went to Vietnam to fight in the war. That¿s how it reminds me of my grandpa. The book was excellent and if you like war stories this book is definitely for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Heroes Don't Run by Harry Mazer was outstanding! This authortells a story of a 14yr old boy and his dream to fight in World War 2. The boy, named Adam, travels by train to his grandfather's farm house in New York. Against his mother's whishes, Adam enlists Marines.I like this story because, it tells, in first person, how adams story goes from life in Los Angeles, to life in the Marines.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If i rated it 1 star its because i didn't read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The vocabulary was very bad. The story wasn't interesting. The war scene was short. I recommend it for little children.