Billie is a lonely, eleven-year-old girl afraid of losing her older brother Leo as he fights in WWII. Denny is a young Navajo Marine, brought up in a boarding school that punished him for speaking his native language. The two develop an unexpected friendship as they care for a wounded stray dog they name Bear. Alternating between Billie’s and Denny’s perspectives, Kirby Larson gives us a taste of the trials of wartime.
Billie worries about the soldiers while dealing with prejudice and unkindness at home. Denny is asked to face the horrors of battle, using his native Navajo to send vital messages through the military. Through it all, Bear comforts them and teaches them the power of friendship, loyalty, and courage. Code Word Courage is a beautifully written story that will introduce young readers to life during WWII. It is engaging while remaining age appropriate for elementary school--a book I would highly recommend.