The Champion by Maurice Gee

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During World War II, Rex, a young New Zealand boy, finds his life irrevocably changed by the arrival of a wounded American soldier, Jackson Coop, an African-American private with a hatred for war, who stays with Rex's family while recuperating.

About Maurice Gee

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Maurice Gee of New Zealand is a novelist and author of children's books. Gee's first book, The Big Season, was published in 1962. He has since produced nearly two dozens novels and collections of short stories and his work has appeared in such publications as Arena, Mate, Landfall, Islands, and Listener. Gee received the New Zealand Book Award in fiction in 1979 for Plumb, in 1982 for Meg, and in 1991 for The Burning Boy. Going West won the Goodman Fielder Wattie Book Award in 1993. In 1995 The Fat Man won the AIM Children's Book Award for Junior Fiction, as well as The Esther Glen Award, given for the most distinguished contribution to New Zealand literature for children and young adults. He had previously received The Esther Glen Award in 1983 for Motherstone.
Published April 26, 1990 by Penguin Books (NZ). 176 pages
Genres: Travel, War, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Jack himself comprises too many clichÇs to be a fully realized character (he's musically and physically gifted, with street smarts learned in a Chicago slum), but he's an admirable one, well suited to contrast with Rex's superhero ideal--as well as with his flawed father Alf (``gabby tricky Dad, ...

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Publishers Weekly

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In the vein of Summer of My German Soldier , this World War II novel traces the growing friendship between a young New Zealander and an American private on leave.

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