Monday, May 18, 2015
MMGM- Fort and The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club.
It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday.
It's not every day that I read a book and think "Oh, finally. Just a fun, not overly depressing middle grade romp,", but it's such an enormous relief when I do. Even better was the fact that Kirkus Reviews thought the title was good.
DeFelice, Cynthia. Fort.
May 19th 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Wyatt is visiting a small town for the summer and loves it, because his father doesn't really pay any attention to him and lets him run around with his friend Auggie all day as long as he checks in periodically. Auggie's great aunt and Uncle, Hildy and Heinie, supply food and building materials, along with the occasional calendar featuring scantily clad women. The boys decide to build a fort out in the woods with pieces of an old, pink ice cream stand, and run into some trouble. At first, they think that Gerard, an older boy with special needs, has ransacked the place, but they find out that it's the work of local bullies J.R. and Morrie, who framed Gerard for a fire and generally have abused him. They come up with Operation Doom, a way to get back at the bullies with jars of honey, a flimsy nightgown of Hildy's, and a number of other clever boobie traps.
Strengths: Yes. This. This is what we need more of. A fun adventure book with believable derring-do. I love this author's Under the Same Sky and The Ghost of Fossil Glen, so it's good to see a new title by her! Even the bullying was handled in a realistic way-- J.R. and Morrie were annoying, and Wyatt and Auggie took care of them without undue navel gazing. Huzzah!
Weaknesses: Wyatt's obsession with Aunt Hildy's chest was a bit creepy, but otherwise, I adored this!
Hoose, Phillip. The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club.
May 12th 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
E ARC from Netgalley.com
In this wonderful piece of narrative nonfiction, Hoose brings us the experience of Knud Pedersen in his own words. As a Dane, the teenaged Pedersen was perturbed that his government had caved so easily to the Nazis demands, agreeing to cooperate with the Nazi soldiers in exchange for relative safety. While Norway was fighting the Nazis, it took a while before opposition to the Nazis took hold in Denmark, and that opposition was started by a group of teenagers headed by Pedersen. At first, the boys contented themselves with painting graffiti and doing small amounts of damage to Nazi property, but soon escalated to major acts of arson as well as stealing weapons and accumulating quite an arsenal. When the Danish people saw that not everyone was acquiescing to Nazi demands, the Resistance was able to take off. The Churchill Club, as the group called itself, continued to bedevil the Nazis, although the boys found it difficult to think about actually killing the soldiers. Eventually, the group was found out and arrested, and spent a lot of time in various jails. By this point, however, the Resistance was going full force. Luckily for the boys, they were tried by Danish officials and, in part because of their age, were not sentenced to death.
Based on intensive interviews with Knudsen, as well as Knudsen's amazing archive of photographs and research, this well-researched book tells a riveting tale of people who stood up for what they believed, even though they were very young. I have always been interested in the various resistance groups, especially since most of them utilized my primary source of transportation-- the bicycle!
Since we have been requiring students to read more nonfiction, this is a title I will order eagerly. This was a great length, had amazing primary source information, and was extremely interesting. I am so glad that Hoose followed up on a forgotten e mail with Pedersen, because this was a fantastic book.