Candy Bomber by Michael O. Tunnell
The Story of the Berlin Airlift's "Chocolate Pilot" (Orbis Pictus Honor for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children (Awards))

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Synopsis

After World War II the United States and Britain airlifted food and supplies into Russian-blockaded West Berlin. US Air Force Lieutenant Gail S. Halvorsen knew the children of the city were suffering. To lift their spirits, he began dropping chocolate and gum by parachute.

Michael O. Tunnell tells an inspiring tale of candy and courage, illustrated with Lt. Halvorsen's personal photographs, as well as letters and drawings from the children of Berlin to their beloved "Uncle Wiggly Wings."
 

About Michael O. Tunnell

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Michael O. Tunnell is the author of several picture books, including the award-winning Mailing May, and of nonfiction works and novels for middle-grade readers. A professor of children's literature at Brigham Young University, Tunnell thoroughly knows the terrain of which he writes, yet when he came to creating his own stories and novels, it was as if he were in uncharted territory. "I discovered critiquing someone else's work is an entirely different process than creating your own stories," Tunnell once told Something about the Author (SATA). "Perhaps I was simply too close to my own work, which made applying what I thought I knew about quality literature difficult. In any case, I had a lot to learn (and the learning has just begun!) about the creative process. I guess writers are born perhaps more than they are made. (I feel the same way about teachers.) So, part of the challenge has been to find and cultivate any spark of literary creativity with which I might have been blessed."Born in Texas, Tunnell was raised in Canada by his grandparents, and his love affair with books started at a young age. "My grandmother . . . would read to me every day," the author recalled. "Fairy tales, comic books, and wonderful picture books like Caps for Sale and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. I soon discovered that books were the world's best teachers and entertainers. I grew up wanting to spend my life working with books." He was at college studying for a career in law when he rediscovered this early commitment. Working part-time for an automobile dealer in Salt Lake City, Utah, he was sent to deliver a car to a customer at a nearby elementary school. "The second I walked through the school doors, I was flooded with the strangest feelings. I remembered my favorite books and my magical childhood years. The next day I changed my major to education. Since then, I've completed several degrees, all relating to reading, children's literature, and teaching." A classroom teacher and media specialist for several years, Tunnell eventually wound up teaching children's literature at the university level.Whether he is writing a picture book, an information book, or a novel, Tunnell approaches each project with enthusiasm. As he once told SATA: "I enjoy trying my hand at the various genres and formats of literature. The economy required by the picture-book format makes that sort of writing a challenge. Naturally, nonfiction books demand careful attention to factual detail, but the biggest challenge is writing nonfiction with flair. . . . The novel, however, I find the most challenging. Writing novels requires sustained imaginative output unlike picture or informational books. Creating and developing believable characters who are doing things worth reading about for one hundred pages or more is difficult yet extremely fulfilling business.
 
Published July 1, 2010 by Charlesbridge. 120 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, War, Children's Books. Non-fiction

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Inspired by the children’s willingness to forego Soviet-offered food in favor of freedom, Halvorsen and fellow pilots made numerous flights, dropping hanky parachutes that carried tons of candy and gum to eagerly awaiting children, who learned that the planes’ “wiggling their wings” meant goodies...

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Examiner

World War II was over, but life had not returned to normal for the people of Berlin, Germany.

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