THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Gracie and the Radar Girls by Karen J Moore

When I started this new blog post series, I did it with the idea of sharing the WHY I created my stories, but then I thought…why not share OTHER authors STORY BEHIND “THEIR” STORY? I put the call out and soon I had tons of authors who wanted to share their backstories with my readers. This week children’s book author, Karen J Moore, is sharing the WHY she wrote her book, “Gracie and the Radar Girls”. Take it away, Karen…

Gracie and the Radar Girls by Karen J Moore

I’ve always loved story in any form, from theater to the written word. I was that kid who loved to read, especially anything with a mystery or twist that challenged my ability to figure it out before the end. With five published fiction picture books (traditionally published, hybrid published and self-published} I thought that was my niche, until I met Gracie.

I’d been attending a Writing For Publication class for sometime when Gracie accompanied her husband, Garner, to class one day. At the time, she was in her early nineties and spoke with eloquence as she related her story of service during World War ll. I was so taken with her memories of serving in Hawaii with an elite group of women known as the WOMEN’S AIR RAID DEFENSE (WARD}, that I wanted to know more. Many months later, I contacted her and asked if I could interview her and possibly write a historical nonfiction picture book about her experience. She quickly and graciously accepted.

I had the privilege of spending many hours with her as she answered my questions and shared her pictures, memories, and her personal writing on her time spent in an underground tunnel codenamed LIZARD. 

The Army began a clandestine recruitment of island women and officer’s wives shortly after the bombing on Pearl Harbor. They tested the women in math, science, technology and memory skills to ensure they would be able to train them in the top-secret field of RADAR. The WARD was the first organized group of women to take over for military men during World War ll in a war zone in defense of an American territory. 

In 1943, the military began a secret recruitment program on the mainland, as they needed more women to ensure the plotting room was fully staffed around the clock. While working at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, Gracie heard about their effort. She went to the Presidio in San Francisco and applied. She underwent extensive testing and a FBI background check.

At the age of nineteen, she boarded a Liberty ship and headed into the unknown.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed researching and fact-checking the WARD and how little was known about their service. Perhaps nonfiction is a new avenue of exploration for me.



Book Blurb:

Shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the army began a clandestine recruitment of intelligent, young women to be trained in the top-secret field of RADAR. In an unprecedented replacement of military men with civilian women, the WOMEN’S AIR RAID DEFENSE (WARD) was formed. 

Just sixteen when World War ll upturned life in America, Grace Hudlow (Gracie) could not imagine the part she would play working in an underground, bomb-proof tunnel at Fort Shafter on the island of Oahu with an elite group of women known as the WARD.

The last time I saw Gracie was on her 95th birthday, she died two months later in May of 2020.

Purchase options: GRACIE AND THE RADAR GIRLS is available on Amazon, Barnes and and in hardcover or softcover ISBN:9781952467110 or 9781952467103


About the Author:

Karen J Moore was born in a small town in Texas. She moved to California at the age of six, to an even smaller town. She worked as a Title I Instructional Aide for Sierra Unified School District, where she received Employee of the Year for the district in 2009. His titles include “Jurney of the Knight”, “Pen the Tale”, “Oogie”, “A Story For CleoCatra”, and “Drots the Dragobotosaurus”. She loves combining curiosity with imagination and creating word magic.

Want to connect:

email: [email protected]


Facebook: Karen Moore

Instagram: @karen_j_moore or @kcmonkeybug

Twitter: @KCmonkeybug

Donna L

Hybrid award winning author; aspiring sketch artist; and 4th Degree Senior Certified Taekwondo Instructor. Host of BOOK NOOK REVIEWS. Member of SCBWI. Mom to fabulous son and adventurer delving into the tricky world of indie-publishing.

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