The Reading Eagles

TPCA Media Class… Grow In Grace



Plane Crash And Prison Camp!

unbrokenReview of: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Reviewed by: Lucas

Louie Zamperini will survive! He lived through WWII, prison, and forty-seven days on a raft. Louie’s story in Unbroken by Laura Hillenband started as a evil, little boy with “black hair as coarse as barbed wire.” When he found the key to the school gym is when he really start his race to fame. Louie found the key to the school gym, so he sneaked people into a basketball game. As Louie’s punishment, he had to join track; the punishment was his brother Pete’s idea. That was the starting pistol to running his way to the Olympics, but although he made it, he did not get gold. The next year the Olympics were cancelled due to the beginning of World War II, so Louie joined the army as a bombardier. After surviving a deadly mission and being bombed, he was sent on a rescue mission in an unsafe plane. Then one of the engines went out! They were going to crash! Out of nine men, only three lived through the crash. Louie, Phil, and Mac climbed onto a raft with little supplies, surviving longer than anyone else on a raft who lived to tell their tale. They were found by the Japanese who moved Louie from one prison to the next. Louie met an evil prison gourd called the Bird, who was a bird of prey. The Bird attacked Louie continuously until the war was over! But it wasn’t until he got home did he start to break! He thought God was using Louie as His toy until he was dragged to church by his wife. That night, Louie stopped drinking and having flashbacks and nightmares. He devoted his life to Christ and helped others.

Unbroken was the best biography I have ever read. It was full of action, but the author knew when to take a break. I liked how it was divided into four different parts: the Olympics, the raft, prison, and after he went home. Laura Hillenbrand did a fine job describing the setting, she made the raft feel dead. This was not like a textbook, it was a story

I think 6th graders and up should read this book because it was an astounding novel. Along with some terrible language, there were some intense parts and descriptions. If you are a 6th grader or older and haven’t read it, you should read it.

Olympian Prisoner

Review of: Unbroken (young adult version,) by Laura Hillenbrand

Reviewer: Bella



“He could have run away, but he refused to bend.” He stands in the boiling sun. Arms aching, heart racing. Refusing to be broken by the monster that has held him in unbreakable chains. Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand relays the heartbreaking and triumphant true story of Louis Zamperini. At a young age, Louie was a criminal, stealing and then swiftly running away from the police. He did this day after day, gaining the recognition that he so desperately craved. Pete, Louie’s older brother, saw some thing in Louie, other than being a juvenile delinquent. Pete focused Louie on track, Louie became stronger and ran many races, often winning first. When he was older, he signed himself up for the Berlin Olympics, left his hometown of Torrance, Italy and came home winning seventh place. Louie was content with his determination during the race, and signed up for another olympics. After the olympics were cancelled, Louie enlisted in the army to become a bombardier. Louie became a bombardier on Hawaii and met many friends, one of whom was the pilot on the B-24 plane that Louie flew on who was named Phil. While Louie was on a rescue mission, the B-24 that he was on along with Phil and other crewman, crashed into the violent ocean. Only three men survived the crash: Louie, Phil, and Mac. After 47 days of floating in the ocean, shark attacks, starvation, and devastation, Louie and Phil are approached what appeared to be an island. As they got closer to the “island” they realized that it was a Japanese ship.

Louie and Phil were loaded onto the ship, taken as POWs, Prisoner of Wars. Louie and Phil were taken to many POW camps, one of which Louie meets the monster that will haunt his dreams. The monster is Mutsuhiro Wantanabe, nicknamed the Bird. The Bird beats Louie senseless and without mercy. The Bird strips Louie of his dignity and leaves him afraid. Finally America comes to rescue the POWs and Louie is relieved. Louie comes home and is a nightmare. He married a girl named Cynthia and begins to use alcohol to solve his problems, but it doesn’t, it only makes things more difficult. After years of struggling, Cynthia takes Louie to see the preacher Billy Graham. Louie realizes that his life is not in the right place an it is not going in the right direction. Can Louie grow close with God and reinvent the relationship that they have never had?

Unbroken was a beautiful novel that showed someone who was robbed of everything, then gained back anything that was lost.  At certain parts, I was viciously reading, wanting to know Louie’s outcome. This book taught me lessons such as: to depend on Jesus, perseverance, and determination. I felt close to the characters and loved most of their personalities because Hillenbrand’s description is so vivid.  I enjoyed Louie’s walk to faith and the effect that it had on him. I believe that this book could bring others to Christ an I recommend reading this masterpiece. Louie’s story truly is triumphant and it is inspiring as a christian.

I recommend Unbroken to students sixth and above. My reasoning for this is because of the intensity of Louie’s situation is too mature for younger students. When I first saw this book, I thought that it was about airplanes, but the story that lies inside of it is truly wonderful. I believe that everyone will take something away from this novel.

God’s Plan for Survival

Review of: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Reviewed by: Nicole

Everyone wants attention at least once in their life, but that attention could ruin it all. A rebellious boy named Louie Zamperini craved for people to notice him. He started to smoke and drink as a young boy in order to be seen by his family and to seem tough. Stealing was his life; anything that his hungry, Italian hands could grasp Louie would make it his. Pete, his older track star and courteous brother, always imagined that Louie could one day amount to something.  So when Louie was in jeopardy of getting into real trouble, Pete made his younger brother sign up for something he had been doing his whole life: running. Louie’s legs had already had practice running from cops, so how could a race be any different? Louie’s older brother pushed him to train as vigorously as he could. Louie began to acquire desire for having a future in running . Louie smashed records including Pete’s, and in any race he started, he ended up stealing first place from his exhausted competitors. A place on the 1936 Olympic team was earned by the competitive teenager in a race against one of the fastest runners in America. Louie contemplated the 1940 Olympics in Japan, but outside Louie’s world, a war was brewing and it was going to taste like soldiers’ blood. When The Olympics were canceled, he enlisted to become a bombardier. In the Air Force, Louie became very close with his pilot named Phil. On a rescue mission, Louie’s plane, a B-24, dove towards the roaring ocean and Louie braced himself for death.  Only three men survived the deadly crash: Louie, Phil, and Mac. Just like that, Louie’s dreams began to sink with the metal bird.  After 47 days of sharks, starvation, dehydration, and fear of what lies ahead, Louie and Phil’s raft was rescued by the Japanese, and they became Prisoners-Of-War (POWs). 

In the POW camp, the Bird, a Japanese soldier full of hatred and jealousy, swoops down on the Olympic runner unlike any other POW officer. The Bird will not stop beating Louie until he loses his dignity and even to the point when doesn’t feel human anymore. Finally, WWII is over and Louie gets to go home. At first, the former runner’s only clue of being a POW were his physical scars.  However, soon after getting married, nightmares and flashbacks arrive in his mind. He begins to drink, but that doesn’t help, and it only makes situations worse. He wants to kill the Bird for the pain he caused, and that consuming anger torments Louie’s mind.  Cynthia, his wife, begs him to go see Billy Graham, a Christian speaker, but Louie wants nothing to do with God. All Louie’s life, he had finished races, but can he finish life’s race with God filling his bitter heart?  

This action-packed novel is one of my favorite books.  Unbroken didn’t take me very long to read because I couldn’t put it down.  I was challenged by the vocabulary and the amazing figurative language. “The POWs saw fire dancing over the skyline.” “Slavery swallowed men’s souls, but the POWs scored little victories.” Those are just two of the incredible figurative language. The suspense made me read for hours. I wanted to know how Louie was going to survive the plane crash. Laura Hillenbrand did an incredible job writing about Louie’s life and making it feel like you are with him through every struggle. There was a lot of deep detail in the POW camp and that made me realize the pain that Louie went through. I personally loved discovering the times that God was obviously with Louie throughout his life. When Louie was on the raft a Japanese fighter plane shot at the for hours and not one bullet hit him or his friends. Unbroken Is definitely one of my favorite stories and I will always love it. In the action-packed novel, Louie learned that he had the strength it took to get through the gruesome war and he realized what his purpose was in life.

I think everyone should read the biography of Louie’s eventful life; however, I do not recommend this book for ages under twelve.  It has a few scenes that some younger children shouldn’t read, like how Louie was tortured and how badly he was treated; but the episodes of Louie’s life that are scary makes the reader identify with Louie. Also, to be able to dig deep and think deeply about this novel is easier for older kids. I think both boys and girls will fall in love with this story and especially if they love the history of WWII.  Unbroken is an amazing story  which all readers will remember long after they finish reading. 


Can’t be Broken

unbrokenReview of: Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand

Reviewed by: Claire A

What is life like for an Olympian bombardier? In the novel Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand, Louie Zamperini is born a rebel. He never follows rules, until, his older brother, Pete, notices Louie’s extremely long legs and convinces the track coach to give him a chance at running. Louie’s track career takes off and is soon headed to the Olympics. Suddenly, disaster strikes, as World War II begins brewing. After the 1940 Olympics were canceled, Louie becomes a talented bombardier, the man on the plane who must acquire quick skill and perfect aim. Disaster once again strikes and Louie and a couple of his plane’s crewman are left stranded in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, on a small raft built for two, no food, little water, and little hope of survival. The Pacific Ocean is full of monstrous sharks, ones who are waiting for the very moment for someone to make one fatal mistake. After forty-seven days of mindlessly drifting at sea, Louie, and his anxious crewmen, spot what appears to be Japan. The Japanese are nothing like what they have heard, when they are brought aboard a Japanese ship, they are treated fairly, but as war burns like a fiery flame, the Japanese become desperate for the outcome. The Japanese generals turn ruthless, and they treat the former Olympian like he is the runt of the pack. Louie loses not only weight, but also his hope and will to live. All Louie wants is to go home, but there appears to be no chance of that ever happening in the ruins of World War II. Even when he doesn’t want it to, life goes on for Louie. The harshest of the Japanese Generals is Mutsuhiro Watanabe, known as “The Bird.” He despises Louie and lives in “attack mode,” forcing Louie to live through unimaginable pain. Even when the war is over, the Bird haunts Louie; the Bird hurts Louie not just physically, but mentally too, taking over his dreams and thoughts. Louie must learn that even in rough times, you can’t give up.

I cannot begin to describe how amazing Unbroken is. Every word in this book is written as if you’re right there next to Louie. When Louie feels pain, you feel it too. I have never read a book that causes me to feel as deeply as I did when reading Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken.  I loved the suspense and the I-am-never-going-to-put-this-book-down moments, especially when I am reading parts about the war and even when he is at home in Torrance. Every chapter, it seems, is important to the overall outcome of this story. Whenever the story becomes slower and harder to get through, there is always an action packed scene right around the corner, just waiting to be read.

If you haven’t read this amazing novel, you should strongly consider it. I do suggest, though, that this book is read by only readers who are in middle school or older. The book is very descriptive and very life like; keep in mind that the movie is PG-13, because of all the action of war. Although it is very intense, I strongly recommend it. Laura Hillenbrand does an outstanding job and that does not go unnoticed. Unbroken is a must-read!

Unbelievable, Unforgettable, but not Unforgiving

Review of: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Reviewed by: Graham

unbrokenIncredible, amazing, and shocking are all words to describe to miraculous life of Louie Zamperini. In Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand, Louie Zamperini is unbreakable. Louie was a total rebel when he was little. He stole things, ran from the police, and even drank and smoked ate the age of 8, just to get attention! Pete, his brother, changed him. He turned Louie into a strong, determined runner. Louie even made it to the 1936 Olympics, and planned to run in the 1940 Olympics. However, the 1940 Olympics were cancelled, he joined the army to be a bombardier. This is when things went downhill. On a rescue mission he crashed in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and was stranded for 47 days. He and his friend, Phil, were rescued by Japanese soldiers; they were taken to prisoner-of-war (POW) camps. There, Louie was beaten mercilessly by the “Bird”, a Japanese officer named Mitsuhiro Watanabe. The Bird singled Louie out everyday; he treated Louie the worst. He never beat someone as hard as he beat Louie; he made Louie do very hard work. For instance, he made Louie hold a six-foot long wooden pole over his head for 37 minuets A couple of years later, Louie and the other prisoners were saved by U.S. soldiers at the end of the war. Louie returned home and saw his family again, but this wasn’t the end of his horrors. He was tormented by dreams, visions, and flashbacks. To try to end this, Louie drank. This didn’t work; it just made things worse. He became drunk every night. His wife, Cynthia, was scared, but she knew he needed her and convinced him to go listen to Billy Graham. Will Louie ever get over the wretched memories? Will he ever turn to God?

Unbroken is one of my favorite books ever. It is breathtaking, heart-wrenching, and unbelievable. Louie Zamperini had unique characteristics; he was stubborn and he had persistence. In the POW camps, the Bird tried to kill him, but he never gave in by knowing that the Bird wasn’t going to defeat him. He also had perseverance, and most of the time he believed that he was going to get out of the POW camps alive, but he struggled with staying positive. I also loved this book because Louie had changes in his life that would make a difference forever.

I recommend this book to boys and girls ages 10-15. I’m in 6th grade and I read the young adult version. Also, Unbroken has some gruesome words included in ugly scenes that are not appropriate for younger children. Unbroken is a biography about Louie Zamperini’s life, so all of it happened and it describes the harsh treatment of the war. This book was very hard to put down, Louie never gave up even in the hardest times.


The Fight for Survival

REVIEW OF: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand


Men aunbrokennd women in countries all over the world are constantly risking their lives everyday for the sake of their country. Sure, they receive medals and rewards for their sacrifices once they return home, but the scary truth is: they never truly leave the battlefield. One man’s story definitely proves that statement to be true. In Laura Hillenbrand’s, Unbroken, the heart-wrenching story of Louie Zamperini, a hardheaded veteran with an inspiring perseverance, basically sums up what most soldiers not only go through, but live through. When Louie was he child, he was quite a troublemaker; he began smoking at age five and drinking at age eight.  Louie would also steal anything edible, cakes, pies, bread; you name it, he took it. Then, after struggling through his childhood years, Louie’s perfect older brother, Pete, found something that helped Louie overcome his despicable habits: running. Louie was an inspiring runner and when he ran he was like a bird that just took flight. Suddenly, WWII broke out and the Olympics that Louie had been waiting for were canceled.  Louie, with nothing else to do, enlisted in the army.  After being in the air force, as a bombardier, for a while Louie and his crew went off on a rescue mission, only to crash in the Pacific themselves. Only three men survived the crash. After forty-seven horrendous days floating on a raft in shark infested waters, Louie and the only other living member in his crew, Phil, were captured by the Japanese. They were taken to a deadly Japanese POW camp and were treated horrifically there. Every day, Louie and the other prisoners were beaten, starved, and worked nearly to death. A sergeant from the camps, nicknamed the Bird, singled Louie out and made it is goal to destroy Louie, and he succeeded for a while. After a traumatizing experience in Japan, the surviving soldiers went home after the U.S. won the war.  For a while, Louie expressed no emotional side effects from the war, but once he got married, Louie began to drink to escape from his flashbacks. Will Louie ever turn to God and see the light, or will he succumb to the drink and destroy his life forever?

I loved Unbroken and I felt that it deserved all of the praise that it has been receiving lately. Overall, I felt that Hillenbrand gave me a good picture on what it’s like in a war camp. Before I read UnbrokenI was ignorant to what it was truly like to be a prisoner of war, and through reading about Louie’s experiences my eyes were opened to the outside world. I also thought that the figurative language and description throughout the novel gave me a vivid mental image of how Louie was being treated. When Hillenbrand used words such as “despair” and “mentally tortured,” I could clearly see what was going on.

I adored this book, so of course I would recommend it. I feel that any boy or girl of ages 12 and up would enjoy the young adult version. I do not recommend this novel to any child under the age of 12, for I strongly feel that it is way too violent and graphic for young minds. It is my hope that anyone who reads the inspiring tale of Louie Zamperini would be motivated by it and learn what it is truly like to have faith in God.

The Torch of Perserverance

Review of:Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Reviewed by:Will

unbrokenTalk about an amazing book. Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand, is a biography about a man named Louie Zamperini.  Louie starts out as a boy seeking attention; the draw back, however, is that he gets it in the form of punishment.  Louie starts drinking and smoking at a very young age, becoming progressively more reckless.  As the rope of rebellion tightens it’s clasp on Louie, his family desperately begs him to stop his criminal actions.  Most persistent of all is Louie’s brother Pete; this boy just won’t give up.  Finally, after several years, Pete has helped transform Louie who is now running track races like a demon, breaking several records.  When the Olympics were canceled, Louie enlisted in the army, immediately making the best of the situation and forming a tight network of crew mates in the plane for which he was the bombardier.  Although things are starting to look up, fate is not pleased with Louie’s sudden intake of happiness.  Louis is soon in the middle of the ocean, one of only three survivors from a terrible bomber crash.  Will Louie keep his head in this critical battle for survival?  This is put to the test when Louie is captured by the Japanese and meets the terrifying, heart wrenching, dignity stealing, Mutsuhiro Wantanabe. This man is dead set on breaking Louie’s will, shattering his mental acuity, and overall, running Louie into the ground.

Unbroken was an outstanding book full of descriptive language and packed with adventure.  One of my favorite parts of this book was witnessing the transformation that takes place in Louie.  He starts off a criminal in the streets, and the enemy of neighborhood moms, but in just a few years, with the support of his family, he is a running fiend, with a new purpose and a new hope.  Another thing that I love about the book is the author’s style of writing.  She does a terrific job at being very descriptive and also keeping you at the edge of your seat with suspenseful and action packed scenes.  Overall, I believe that reading Unbroken is a no-brainier!

I would also recommend this book to ages twelve and up.  It is set in a gruesome time period:  the horrible WWII.  Also, it has some inappropriate language that may disturb young readers, but is appropriate for the terrible brutality that occurred during the war.  Although this book is somewhat sad, it is a fantastic story and contains even better writing to push it along!

The Strength It Takes

Review of: Unbroken

Reviewed by: Luke S.

Have you had a life crisis?  No, you haven’t!  Not compared to Louie Zamperini!  Rebel, Olympian, WWII bombardier,  castaway,  prisoner of war,  veteran,  alcoholic, and Christian are all words  to describe Louie Zamperini.  He started out as a misfit who stole, drank and smoked.  Then he was pushed by his brother Pete to do something important.  Louie became a runner; in fact he was so fast he made the Olympic team.  Then WWII started and he became a B-17 bombardier.  Louie’s plane crashed, after a failure of communication between the pilots, in the Pacific.  Louie and two other men survived the crash, and jumped on two rafts to save them selves.  After being trapped out in the Pacific with man eating sharks they were found by the Japanese and was taken as a prisoners of war.  He was beaten numerous times by an officer that he calls “The Bird.”  As Louie was in the prison Louie’s heart and soul was taken from him.   He grew hatred for the Bird because the Bird beat him every chance he got.  The Bird haunts Louie even after the war, when he isn’t on the same continent as the Bird, he causes just as much pain.  The Bird and the war ruined his life.  He became an alcoholic to forget the terrors of the war and the Bird.  Eventually his wife left him because he would have nightmares and completely lose control on her.  Louie’s wife convinced him to go see Billy Graham preach in California, and it changed his life forever.

Amazing.  This is the perfect word for the book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.  The book I just read is the best book I’ve read in the past, present, and future, hands down.  My favorite character is Louie because he is so funny.  Not only that, but he is also daring, unselfish, and a born leader.  Louie Zamperini is a perfect role model for anyone.  But he is a better role model for non- followers of Christ.  He started out miserable, but became a Christian in a way that anyone could.  Outstanding is also a great description for Unbroken because every single part of it is outstanding.

I recommend this book to 12 years and up.  This book contains some gruesome scenes in it which is not good for younger kids. This book also has bad language because it’s a biography and the author needs to put exactly what Louie said, which is also bad for younger kids. People need to read this book because you get to find out how much people can actually change.  lkThis is a great book and if anybody wants to read it, I say go for it.

Louie’s Character Analysis

In the book Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand, Louie is a real troublemaker.  In the novel, it says that Louie would steal anything that was edible, and he smoked and drank at a young age.  He would react to getting hurt by not crying or anything. Also, the book says he would fight a lot and his relationship with God was not good.  All the bullies wouldn’t try to get him. Louie is very selfish, and doesn’t care what his actions are doing to his family.

As the book goes on, Louie becomes more mature.  But when Louie is on the raft, he prays to God.  At that time, Mac had just died.  I think Louie is building up a better relationship with God, by praying to Him about his situation.  Louie shares his food, helps keep his friends sane, and protects his friends and fellow prisoners of war.  All of this makes Louie the least selfish person I have heard of.

Louie’s attitude about being able to survive anything is the character trait that stays the same between his younger and older self; I think the theme of this book is to stay strong through life’s problems.  This theme means you should be strong in the everyday challenges that life throws at us. Also, you should trust in God for help with the problems.


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