Based on a true story in the summer of 1943 . . .

Twelve-year-old Miguel Montoya feels left behind. Everyone else in his large family is “doing his part” during World War II. His brother is flying dangerous missions over enemy territory, while his sister and aunt are home-front volunteers. Miguel offers to take their places in the family grocery store, only to be told he’s not old enough to do anything more than sweep floors and keep an eye on his bothersome little nephew, Victor.

So when the Empire Theatre announces a scrap metal contest to help the war effort, Miguel decides to win! As he and his best friend, Gary, scour their San Antonio neighborhood for old scrap, they keep one eye on the military planes that fill the skies and one eye out for bullies threatening to steal their stash.

When Miguel befriends a wounded soldier, though, the realities of war hit home. And on the fateful day when his family needs him most, it is Miguel who must do his part to save his nephew.

Readers, don’t miss the last few pages to learn more about the real Miguel Montoya.




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Miguel Montoya feels left out of the war until he meets a wounded veteran who needs his help.

2010 Colorado Book Award Finalist

Select Testimonials:

“Suspenseful plot and lots of action!” - The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

"The fast pace and well-done action and suspense make this a page-turner. This is the third book in a fabulous series that gives an authentic picture of how people (especially kids) of different racial, religious, and cultural heritages played a role in the World War II." - Laura Resau, author of Queen of Water

"In a field that could really use more boy-centric books, this is a great find! Young readers, boys and girls, will love Miguel Montoya -- he's a natural leader, looking out for his family, friends and community while World War II rages on." - CraftWrite