CAPTURE THE FLAG
I’m always looking for great books to encourage my library students to read. I recently finished reading Capture the Flag written by Kate Messner. Mystery, history, and intrigue make this book a winner for my third through fifth graders.
The story begins with a gala reception taking place at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. Three seventh grade students on winter break are in attendance. Anna, daughter of a senator, is a budding writer for her school newspaper in Vermont and is hoping to interview a senator who is running for president in the next election. José, whose mother worked on the restoration of the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner,” is more interested in reading his book than the goings-on at the gala. Then there’s Henry who is glued to his video game on his computer and could care less about the artifacts and history his Aunt Lucinda has been immersing him in all week long.
They three become unwitting accomplices when a freak snow storm leaves them stranded at a Washington, D.C. airport and they learn “The Star-Spangled Banner” flag has been stolen. Anna believes that the thieves are snowed in, too, and convinces José and Henry to help find who took the flag and return it to its rightful place.
Kate Messner does an excellent job ramping up the tension as events unfold. A man with a snake tattoo, a politician gone bad, a Secret Society, and a young boy and his dog all come into play. Readers are sure to get caught up in the action as Anna, José, and Henry cooperate with one another and use their talents and ingenuity to catch the thieves. Recovery of the flag and unexpected friendships make for a satisfying ending.
Check out Kate Messner’s website and blog here.