Grades 3 - 7
Grade level Equivalent: 4.6
Lexile® Measure: 760L
Guided Reading: Y
- Historical Fiction
- Courage, Bravery, Heroism
- Equality, Fairness, Justice
- World War II
- Adult Content
About This Book
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
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A Newbery Honor Book author has written a powerful and gripping novel about a youth in Nazi Germany who tells the truth about Hitler Bartoletti has taken one episode from her Newbery Honor Book, Hitler Youth, and fleshed it out into thought-provoking novel.
Just as the Nazis are rising to power, Helmut Hubener, a German schoolboy, is caught up in all the swashbuckling bravado of his time.
The handsome storm trooper uniforms, the shiny jackboots and armbands, the rousing patriotism — all serve to draw him into this bright new world full of promise and hope.
In the beginning, Helmuth's patriotism is unwavering. But every day the rights of people all over Germany are diminishing. Jews are threatened and their businesses are being destroyed, the truth has been censored, and danger lurks everywhere. Anybody can turn on you. The world has turned upside down: Patriotism means denouncing others, love means to hate, and speaking out means treason. Silence becomes everyone's guilty secret. How much longer can Helmuth keep silent?
But when he tries to expose the truth with leaflets, he's tried for treason. Sentenced to death and waiting in a jail cell, Helmut's story emerges in a series of flashbacks that show his growth from a naive child caught up in the patriotism of the times , to a sensitive and mature young man who thinks for himself. This homage to an extraordinary real life hero magnificently explores one person's responsibility to humanity, freedom, and truth.
* "She does an excellent job of conveying the political climate surrounding Hitler's ascent to power, seamlessly integrating a complex range of socioeconomic conditions into her absorbing drama of Helmuth..." — Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "...a particularly gripping way to personalize the history... This is an important title for the Holocaust curriculum." — Booklist, starred review
"...tale of conscience and courage." — Kirkus Reviews