Gracie and the Radar Girls
Karen J. Moore (author) Lyn Meredith (illustrator)
KC Monkeybug Books (2022)
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (11/2022)
“Gracie and the Radar Girls,” written by Karen J. Moore and illustrated by Lyn Meredith, is the story of Grace Hudlow and her experience during WWII as a Radar Girl. The story tells about the pivotal role of the WARD (Women’s Air Raid Defense) in the war efforts.
Gracie was only 16 years old the day she learned Pearl Harbor was under attack. When President Roosevelt declared war, everyone was called to do their part. After graduation, Gracie heard of efforts recruiting women to assist with vital top-secret jobs in the Hawaiian Islands. Gracie was interviewed and investigated by the FBI and accepted for the job! She became part of the Women’s Air Raid Defense, and she and the other women recruited worked in an underground bomb-proof tunnel that was code named LIZARD! The training was intense, and the women had to learn a new technology: RADAR: Radio Air Detection and Ranging. Known as Shuffleboard Pilots, the women of WARD played an essential role for the United States and were respected and celebrated when they returned home after the war ended.
What a wonderful, educational, and inspirational story for girls (and boys) of all ages! Told from the first person perspective, Gracie proudly tells of her critical role in history and brings to light a little known piece of history. This story brought chills to me as I imagined the bravery and courage these young girls displayed, leaving their homes and working in such an important capacity. Add to that the significant skills they accomplished – these girls cleared a path for women to come, impressing on the fact that there is nothing we can’t do. Such an important message for young girls today.
The illustrations accompanying the story are fabulous. Done in red-colored pencil, then water-colored and digitally enhanced, these drawings really take this story to the next level, as do the black and white actual photos of Grace and her experiences. I especially love the photo of the WARD around the plotting table mapping the data coming in, and the photo of the author interviewing Grace Hudlow!
Overall, I highly recommend “Gracie and the Radar Girls” to all teens. This would make a remarkable book to have available in school libraries and would be an excellent text for study.