Cover image for Navajo code talkers
Navajo code talkers
1st pbk. ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Walker, 2002, c1992.
Physical Description:
1 online resource (ix, 114 p.) : ill., map.
General Note:
"Originally published in the United States of America in 1992 by Walker Publishing Company, Inc."--T.p. verso.
Foreword / Roy O. Hawthorne -- War of words -- Needed: an unbreakable code -- Creating the code -- Earning the trust -- Life in the war zone -- Breaking Japanese codes -- Island-hopping -- Battle of Sulfur Island: the code talkers' finest hour -- Back home.
Describes how the American military in World War II used a group of Navajo Indians to create an indecipherable code based on their native language.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader/Renaissance Learning UG 9.5 4.


Material Type
Shelf Number
Internet Site XX(792831.1) 1

On Order



On the Pacific front during World War II, strange messages were picked up by American and Japanese forces on land and at sea. The messages were totally unintelligible to everyone except a small select group within the Marine Corps: the Navajo code talkers-a group of Navajos communicating in a code based on the Navajo language. This code, the first unbreakable one in U.S. history, was a key reason that the Allies were able to win in the Pacific. Navajo Code Talkers tells the story of the special group, who proved themselves to be among the bravest, most valuable, and most loyal of American soldiers during World War II.

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-9-- A fascinating account that sheds light on a little-known contribution of the Navajos during World War II. A civil engineer who spent his childhood among them suggested that their language be used as a perfect unbreakable code. The result was one of the most secret and important aspects of U. S. intelligence work against the Japanese--Navajo code talking. Aaseng details the process by which native-speaking volunteers developed, learned, and used the complicated coding process to send and receive vital information even when the Japanese were intercepting the messages. He gives many examples of the dangers and prejudice the Native Americans faced in the armed services, as well as the special hardships they endured because of their cultural differences. The short, readable chapters are illustrated with photographs from the National Archives and the Library of Congress. This is a book that will appeal to a wide range of students--those interested in army intelligence and cryptography, and in World War II or Native American history. It should prove helpful for reports, but is interesting enough to recommend for recreational reading. --Yvonne A. Frey, Peoria Public Schools, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Review

The role played by Navajo Indians as 'code talkers' in World War II is described in detail. Aaseng discusses the difficulties involved in creating a code using the Navajo language. Once developed, it proved unbreakable, and the Native Americans, once trained, proved highly efficient and effective. The subject matter, explored in a straightforward manner, will be of interest to many readers. Bib., ind. From HORN BOOK 1992, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

The gripping story of the Native American volunteers who provided a unique military service during WW II to the very government that had oppressed their people. Using their own language, specially trained Navajo transmitted messages that the enemy could neither read nor falsify, greatly facilitating military operations in the Pacific. The background information here is particularly effective; few books so concisely summarize the Japanese advance and the American response to it, while none provides the same depth of insight into the conditions faced by these Navajo. Particularly interesting are how hard it was for them to convince other Americans that they weren't Japanese, and how some of the talkers attributed their safe return to blessing ceremonies conducted on their behalf by Navajo healers. Aaseng also shows the importance of coded communications to military operations, giving examples of how the early cracking of Japanese codes led directly to some crucial victories. After the war came white ignorance and neglect: the talkers were not officially thanked until 25 years later. An important story, compellingly told. Map; many b&w photos; source notes; bibliography; index. (Nonfiction. 9-14.)

Booklist Review

Gr. 6-9. Aaseng's account of the Navajo code talkers who worked as part of the American military during World War II is sure to attract war buffs and students researching native American accomplishments. The author provides background on the military's use of cryptography, then describes how the Navajos were recruited to create an unbreakable code that allowed the marines to transmit information quickly and accurately. In addition to learning about Navajo participation in the war, readers will acquire a surprising amount of information about Indian culture and lore, living conditions on reservations, and how the Navajos were accepted by the military. Students enjoy Aaseng's books because they are interesting and easy to read, and this book is no different. In fact, it may even earn the author new fans. Illustrated with black-and-white photos; a bibliography is supplied. (Reviewed Dec. 1, 1992)0802781829Chris Sherman