Tales of the Mighty Code Talkers

Written by Lee Francis III
Review by John Kachuba

Over the last few decades, as multicultural studies have taken on new importance in American society, many previously overlooked contributions to our history by various minorities have come to light. Among these have been stories of the military patriotism exhibited by Native Americans, dating as far back as the American Revolution.

This young adult graphic novel, edited by Starr, features the talents of six Native American writers and artists. In varying styles, they tell three stories about the famed code talkers of World Wars I and II, soldiers who used their own native languages to relay messages in codes that were never broken by the enemy. Additional historic information about the code talkers is included after the stories.

The code talkers’ heroic stories have been told, belatedly, to adult readers, but this graphic novel may be the first to tell their stories to a younger audience. Richly illustrated, and with text that sometimes verges on the poetic, the novel should be included in any multicultural library designed for young readers.