This WWII fiction draws students’ attention to the resistance against Nazi rule in Norway.
Recommended grade level: 6-10
Pages: 304 (for ISBN 9781419704246)
Summary: Fourteen-year-old Espen and his friends are swept up in the resistance movement in Nazi occupied Norway. He gets his start delivering illegal newspapers, then graduates to the role of courier, and finally becomes a spy, dodging the Gestapo along the way. During five years of the Nazi regime, he gains–and loses–friends, falls in love, and makes one small mistake that threatens to catch up with him as he sets out to escape over the mountains to Sweden.
The story is based on real events and the experiences of real people. The book contains photos, maps, and archival material. (Source)
Who will like this book?: Adventure and historical fiction fans alike will enjoy the suspense, espionage, and survival skills in Espen’s tale. Those who like World War II stories may appreciate this uncommon perspective on the war.
Who won’t like this book?: While it’s suspenseful, this is not necessarily an action story. Most of the time, it’s more about intelligence and sneakiness than chases and fighting.
Readalikes: The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club by Phillip M. Hoose is a nonfiction story about youth resistance in Denmark. Hero on a Bicycle by Shirley Hughes is historical fiction about the Italian resistance. Bomb: The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin is nonfiction that contains sections on the Norwegian mission to destroy Hitler’s efforts to create an atomic bomb.