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!

22718705Hoose, Phillip. The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club.
May 12th 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

E ARC from

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.


  1. Both of these look wonderful! I haven't heard of either one, so I'm glad you brought them to my attention.

  2. I will definitely be reading these two, and I'm sure recommending them to some of my reluctant readers. Thanks for the heads-up.

  3. These both sounds really good. I think they'd both fit in really well at my MS/HS Media Center. Thanks for sharing about them. Come see what my week was like here. Happy reading!

  4. Wow! Both books look great! Will be adding Fort to my TBR pile!

  5. These both sound so good. My TBR list just gets longer and longer! Thanks for the reviews.

  6. Since you have given both of these rave reviews, I know I can order them immediately. Thank you thank you!

  7. I love PHillip Hoose books, and this new one looks amazing! FORT also looks good.

  8. Anonymous8:07 PM EDT

    These are both new titles for me and both sound amazing! Even though I teach younger students, I love the sound of Fort for my son. Thank you!

  9. I love non-fiction, will certainly look for The Boys Who Challenged Hitler, Karen. I know nothing about the Danish history, so find it fascinating that a group of teens were the force that helped the resistance.

  10. I'm hearing some great things about The Boy Who,.... I'll have to check it out!

  11. Wow! Such high praises for The Boy Who... will definitely have to check that one out. Would have been a perfect addition to our war and poetry reading theme several months back.