Soldier Doll

Soldier Doll


By Jennifer Gold


From a young man fighting in the trenches of Europe to a present-day teen whose father is shipping out to Afghanistan.

When Elizabeth spots an antique doll dressed in a soldier’s uniform at a local garage sale, she thinks that it might be a good last-minute birthday gift for her dad, who’s about to ship out to the Middle East. But is it more special? Could it be the very soldier doll that inspired a famous poem written during World War I?

In finding the doll, Elizabeth has become the latest link in a chain of love and loss that began in England during World War I, when a young woman gave the doll to her fiancée before he left to join the fighting in Europe. From there to Nazi Germany in the 1930s, to a Czech concentration camp in World War II and on to a young American soldier in Vietnam in the 1970s, the doll has been passed from hand to hand, in moments of both hope and sadness. 

Is the little soldier a good luck charm, or an unlucky foreteller of death? Now its fate lies in the hands of Elizabeth, who feels compelled to find its original owner. Like those who came before her, she will be tested by the realities of war, and she too will need to find the hope and courage to go on. 

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About the Author

Jennifer Gold is a lawyer, mother of two, and the author of the YA novels Soldier Doll and Undiscovered Country. A history buff, she also has degrees in psychology, law, and public health. She lives in Toronto.


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Product Information

  • Release: March 15, 2014

  • $11.95 Paperback

  • 256 Pages

  • 5.5 x 8.25

  • Teen Fiction

  • Ages 12-18 / Grades 7-12

  • Lexile: HL600L Guided Reading: Z+

  • ISBN: 9781927583296


  • Character Education
    > Prejudice and Tolerance
    > Strong Female Characters

  • History / Social Studies
    > War and Conflict

  • Language Arts
    > Historical Fiction

Awards for Soldier Doll

  • Nominated for YALSA's (Young Adult Library Services Association) Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2015

  • Bank Street College Children's Book Committee's "Best Children's Books of the Year, 2015" for ages 14+

  • 2016 White Pine Award Finalist - Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading

Praise for Soldier Doll

"Along with penetrating insights into the feelings of those who went to fight, stayed behind or just became victims of circumstance, Gold supplies enough historical background to give readers an understanding of the complex events and rationales that drove each war. A memorable debut, both timely and universal in its themes." - Kirkus Reviews

"Soldier Doll is an excellent book that will draw young readers into stories of the past without even noticing they're learning about history." - Quill & Quire

"Well-researched... virtually cinematic. Superb writing... amazingly unbiased portrayal of recent wartime tragedies in our civilization." - CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"Gold’s gentle prose and well-defined characters from each era make the complicated plot easy to navigate... An uplifting story of high interest to historical fiction fans." - Booklist

"Jennifer Gold is very astute in using the doll as the focus for discussions of life and death, war and peace, and responsibility and honour." - CanLit for Little Canadians

"Soldier Doll is an insightful and compassionate contemplation about war that wisely does not preach or take sides, but allows each of the characters, in their unique historical settings, to speak for themselves." - AJL Reviews - Association of Jewish Libraries

"As readers are drawn into the story and the well-developed characters, they will gain an understanding of the pain caused by war and will be prompted to consider complex ideas of conflict resolution and justice." - Resource Links

"[Jennifer Gold] manages to maintain a note of hopefulness and uplift.... Undoubtedly, it will provoke thoughtful discussion." - Jewish Book World

"[Soldier Doll] is a unique book and an interesting read....Recommended for high school and mature middle school students." - Kutztown University Book Review

"Gold artfully weaves together relevant snapshots of past wars in Europe and Vietnam with more recent conflicts as she traces the doll’s journey… Genuine and plausible historical connections to the soldier doll coupled with a highly engaging writing style make for a compelling narrative." - Professionally Speaking (The Magazine of the Ontario College of Teachers)