Monday, July 16, 2012

His Name Was Raoul Wallenberg

Borden, Louise. His Name Was Raoul Wallenberg: Courage, rescue and Mystery During World War II
16 January 2012, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

I knew that Wallenberg had rescued many people from the Nazis, but I didn't really know who he was or how he accomplished this. This larger format, well-illustrated biography gives Wallenberg's background, from his childhood in Sweden to his college studies in the US, talks about all of the globe trotting opportunities that were afforded to him by his grandfather, and then continues on to discuss how all of these things brought him to want to provide as many Jewish people as possible with "safe passes" in order to keep them out of concentration camps. Interviews and family information from sources close to Wallenberg make this a must for schools that study the Holocaust at any length.
Strengths: This is one of the few biographies I have ever read that had enough pictures to satisfy me, and they weren't all shoved onto glossy pages in the middle. Borden does an excellent job at providing visual examples of just about everything I wanted to see. People mentioned? Pictures. Town or building described? Pictures. Maps when needed, copies of documents-- this was brilliant.
Weaknesses: This is written in choppy prose that almost looks like free verse, which is helpful for students who need a lot of white space, but sometimes it becomes overly poetic. Just a bit odd.

It's Nonfiction Monday, a meme started by Ana Suen. It's hosted this week by Practically Paradise.

It's also What Are You Reading at Text Mentor Texts.


  1. Sounds like a great teaching tool told in a way that is little different than the usual non-fiction book.

  2. This sounds like a book that would fit in well with a unit on HF in schools. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I must add this book to my book stack! I'm always looking for good books about the Holocaust and the incredible things people did to stand up for what was right.

  4. I love discovering biographies that are truly enjoyable. I love Candace Fleming's non-fiction a lot. Thanks for linking up!