A nuanced perspective on World War II and a testament to the power of a young person to resist.

WINTER IN WARTIME

A Dutch teenager is caught in a web of wartime conspiracy.

When the German army invaded the Netherlands and Belgium, Michiel was 11. He thought war would be exciting and hoped it would last a long time. Now, in the winter of 1944, he wishes the war would end. The son of the mayor of a rural village, Michiel knows how to keep a secret. No longer able to attend school, he runs errands and helps his family give shelter and sustenance to people walking hundreds of miles to bring food to their families in famine-stricken cities. He also listens with pride to Uncle Ben’s stories of his resistance work. When Michiel’s neighbor is captured by the Nazis, Michiel becomes responsible for more secrets than he thought possible. As winter stretches on and Michiel strives to do the right thing, he becomes increasingly embroiled in dangerous situations that seem to precipitate terrible consequences. Originally published in Dutch in 1973 and newly translated here, this gripping tale of conspiracy and humanity is based on the author’s childhood memories of the war. Suspenseful third-person narration provides historically and culturally specific details along with insight into Michiel’s inner thoughts. The contradictions and the horrors of war are laid out in succinct, powerful prose. Winding to a quiet yet satisfying ending, Terlouw laments the never-ending cycle of war. All characters are assumed white.

A nuanced perspective on World War II and a testament to the power of a young person to resist. (Historical fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68137-426-0

Page Count: 200

Publisher: New York Review Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A wartime drama with enough depth and psychological complexity to satisfy budding bookworms.

A PLACE TO HANG THE MOON

Three plucky orphan siblings are in search of a mother in wartime England.

When their grandmother dies, 12-year-old William, 11-year-old Edmund, and 9-year-old Anna are left in London in the care of an elderly housekeeper. As part of the World War II evacuation of children to safety, they are relocated to the countryside, something the family solicitor hopes may lead to finding adoptive parents. However, they are billeted with the Forresters, an unpleasant family reminiscent of the Dursleys. Bullying by their hosts’ two sons, who despise them; the ever present fear of German attack; and the dread of homelessness test their mettle to the limit. The orphans long to find a home of their own, and good boy William is stressed by his responsibility as head of the small family. Edmund’s desire for revenge against the Forresters and a prank involving a snake get them evicted from their billet, and they end up in a much worse situation. They find sanctuary in the village library and a savior in the librarian, who is married to a German and therefore ostracized by the locals. Mrs. Müller provides them with moral support, a listening ear, and true appreciation and love. The classic books she chooses for them—The Wind in the Willows and Anne of Green Gables, among others—may generate ideas for further reading. All characters are White.

A wartime drama with enough depth and psychological complexity to satisfy budding bookworms. (reading list) (Historical fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4705-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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THE LIGHTNING THIEF

From the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series , Vol. 1

Edgar Award–winning Riordan leaves the adult world of mystery to begin a fantasy series for younger readers. Twelve-year-old Percy (full name, Perseus) Jackson has attended six schools in six years. Officially diagnosed with ADHD, his lack of self-control gets him in trouble again and again. What if it isn’t his fault? What if all the outrageous incidents that get him kicked out of school are the result of his being a “half-blood,” the product of a relationship between a human and a Greek god? Could it be true that his math teacher Mrs. Dodds transformed into a shriveled hag with bat wings, a Fury, and was trying to kill him? Did he really vanquish her with a pen that turned into a sword? One need not be an expert in Greek mythology to enjoy Percy’s journey to retrieve Zeus’s master bolt from the Underworld, but those who are familiar with the deities and demi-gods will have many an ah-ha moment. Along the way, Percy and his cohort run into Medusa, Cerberus and Pan, among others. The sardonic tone of the narrator’s voice lends a refreshing air of realism to this riotously paced quest tale of heroism that questions the realities of our world, family, friendship and loyalty. (Fantasy. 12-15)

Pub Date: July 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7868-5629-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2005

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