Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Boy Who Dared

Donna will be shocked that I have now made this contribution! And, I will quickly confide that expectations of flowing, articulate and insightful reviews should cease, as I am a simpleton when it comes to reading, and to analyzing what I've read.

Nonetheless, I recently read The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. The book is historical fiction based on the life of a Nazi Hitler Youth who was ultimately sentenced to be executed for treason against the Hitler regime.

The summary of the book's story is quite simple. It follows the journey of Helmuth, a young German boy, as he grows up and watches monumental change in Germany. Helmuth knows the rules for conduct and behavior in Hitler's Germany, but is suspicious of government activity and disdainful of the Nazi socialist movement and the war. He ultimately engages in activities that brand him a traitor.

My first impression, which was ultimately quite accurate, is that this book is written at about the 5th or 6th grade level. While I found it difficult to engage at this level, I persisted. Plus, I was thinking that, since I have a 5th grader, I might pass it along to her. For a younger person, it is a nice introduction to the historical landscape of Nazi Germany as introduced from a German perspective, as opposed to Jewish accounts from the likes of Anne Frank.

The most engaging part of this book, for me, was actually the author's notes. This section told of the biographical information about Helmuth and the accounts offered to the author through Helmuth's brother and Helmuth's best friend, both of whom ultimately came to the U.S. in the early 1950s. There were pictures of the families and biographical accounts of what happened to all of the major characters in real life after the war. This gave the story a little bit more a human connection.

The book is a quick read. However, probably best suited for the kids...maybe this would be a good one to read at the same time as your child reads it.

1 comment:

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