The Boys in the Boat (Adapted for Young Readers)

In YA Book Reviews on February 15, 2016 at 9:07 pm


by Daniel James Brown

YA Non-Fiction/©2015/249 Pages/Recommended for Ages 10-13

Book Description (Courtesy of Goodreads):

The #1 New York Times bestseller about the Greatest Generation freshly adapted for the next generation.

For readers of Unbroken, out of the depths of the Great Depression comes the astonishing tale of nine working-class boys from the American West who at the 1936 Olympics showed the world what true grit really meant. With rowers who were the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew was never expected to defeat the elite East Coast teams, yet they did, going on to shock the world by challenging the German boat rowing for Adolf Hitler.

At the center of the tale is Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, whose personal quest captures the spirit of his generation—the generation that would prove in the coming years that the Nazis could not prevail over American determination and optimism.

This deeply emotional yet easily accessible young readers adaptation of the award-winning #1 New York Times bestseller features never-before-seen photographs, highly visual back matter, and an exclusive new introduction.

My Thoughts:

I have read both the original and this adapted version. While this version for younger readers doesn’t give all the rich details of the crew members, the coach, and the boat builder found in the original, it still keeps the heart and soul, giving a clear picture of the scope of what those young men accomplished and the hardships they faced. All the excitement and the inspiring messages of the original also remain intact. Serving to strengthen the content, this version includes several things not found in the original that would be advantageous for younger readers: the thoughtful “Note from the Author” that precedes the story, a Who’s Who page with names and pictures of the people mentioned in the book, a Timeline of Events, and a fascinating 2-page spread about the Art of Rowing. It also contains many more photographs that should further engage the younger reader. All in all, I think this young readers’s edition makes this amazing story more likely to be read and appreciated by the middle school reader. It is definitely deserving of that honor.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars


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