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Twenty-One Steps: Guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Best Seller
Twenty-One Steps: Guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by Jeff Gottesfeld
Hardcover $17.99
Feb 12, 2021 | ISBN 9781536201482

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  • Feb 12, 2021 | ISBN 9781536201482 | 7-10 years

    Also available from:

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An up-close look at the sentinels who protect and honor America’s fallen…Tavares’ magisterial art soars, awash in opposing forces: shadowed but luminous, soaked in both melancholy and reverence. All sentinels (“men and women of every race, religion, and creed”) take this honor seriously, expressed in the “Sentinel’s Creed” reproduced in the frontmatter. The fallen who have died nameless deserve the very best. This is it. Impeccably honors its subject.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Gottesfield’s poetic text is in the voice of the first Unknown Soldier, borne by a horse-drawn wagon to Arlington in 1921 and, after a twenty-one-gun salute, laid to rest on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, at the eleventh hour (the time the WWI armistice was signed in 1918)…Published to coincide with the hundredth anniversary of the establishment of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, this book is a gorgeous and reverent tribute both to veterans and to the Tomb Guards.
—The Horn Book (starred review)

The respectful personalization of the unknown soldier and the specificity of the ritual that is now witnessed by Arlington visitors are a potent draw for primary to middle grade audience, and Tavares’ pencil and digitally painted artwork captures many facets of the narration…A closing note offers supplemental information on Arlington and tombs of the unknown from subsequent wars as well as some hints for tracking down further details.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

This title is a tribute to the nameless fallen soldiers and the sentinels who guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery…The main text provides a history and reverence for the dedication and exactitude of the guards who pace in precise intervals, every hour of every day… This book’s message of selflessness is as clear as the click of the metal-studded heels of sentinels walking their appointed steps.
—School Library Journal

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