A powerful homage to young activists.

READ REVIEW

THE EDELWEISS PIRATES

Jazz is strictly forbidden in 1938 Germany.

German teenager Albert plays jazz clarinet with his group, the Edelweiss Pirates. They swing dance, listen to records of all the jazz artists, paint graffiti over swastikas on city walls, and hand out anti-Hitler leaflets, all in defiance of Hitler Youth, thugs dedicated to upholding the Nazi regime by intimidation and violence. Albert’s younger brother, narrator Kurt, plays the trumpet, and his Jewish friend, Fritz, plays the saxophone, but Fritz must sneak into Kurt’s house when they play jazz together. At school Kurt witnesses many anti-Semitic incidents directed against Fritz, but, although they disturb him greatly, he does nothing. But at the school band concert, where they must play Hitler’s favorite composer, Wagner, Kurt raises his trumpet and plays Louie Armstrong’s “Saint Louis Blues” loudly and defiantly. Albert’s group comes swinging down the aisle and plays along with him. There may be serious consequences, but Kurt is now a full-fledged member of the Edelweiss Pirates. These anti-Nazi groups of teen jazz enthusiasts really existed, and their acts of sabotage plagued the Nazis throughout the war. By allowing Kurt to narrate the tale in the present tense, Elvgren makes the events personal and immediate for modern readers, who may have limited knowledge of the Holocaust and the war. Stamatiadi’s striking, mostly earth-toned or shadowed illustrations focus on the characters’ expressive faces and body stances.

A powerful homage to young activists. (author’s note) (Picture book. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5124-8360-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit...

NUMBER THE STARS

The author of the Anastasia books as well as more serious fiction (Rabble Starkey, 1987) offers her first historical fiction—a story about the escape of the Jews from Denmark in 1943.

Five years younger than Lisa in Carol Matas' Lisa's War (1989), Annemarie Johansen has, at 10, known three years of Nazi occupation. Though ever cautious and fearful of the ubiquitous soldiers, she is largely unaware of the extent of the danger around her; the Resistance kept even its participants safer by telling them as little as possible, and Annemarie has never been told that her older sister Lise died in its service. When the Germans plan to round up the Jews, the Johansens take in Annemarie's friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend she is their daughter; later, they travel to Uncle Hendrik's house on the coast, where the Rosens and other Jews are transported by fishing boat to Sweden. Apart from Lise's offstage death, there is little violence here; like Annemarie, the reader is protected from the full implications of events—but will be caught up in the suspense and menace of several encounters with soldiers and in Annemarie's courageous run as courier on the night of the escape. The book concludes with the Jews' return, after the war, to homes well kept for them by their neighbors.

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit of riding alone in Copenhagen, but for their Jews. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1989

ISBN: 0547577095

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

Did you like this book?

A stellar collaboration that introduces an important and intriguing individual to today’s readers.

BECOMING MUHAMMAD ALI

From the Becoming Ali series , Vol. 1

Two bestselling authors imagine the boyhood of the man who became the legendary boxing icon Muhammad Ali.

Cassius was a spirited child growing up in segregated Louisville, Kentucky. He had a loving home with his parents and younger brother, Rudy. Granddaddy Herman also was an important figure, imparting life lessons. His parents wanted him to succeed in school, but Cassius had difficulty reading and found more pleasure in playing and exploring outdoors. Early on, he and Rudy knew the restrictions of being African American, for example, encountering “Whites Only” signs at parks, but the brothers dreamed of fame like that enjoyed by Black boxer Joe Louis. Popular Cassius was especially close to Lucius “Lucky” Wakely; despite their academic differences, their deep connection remained after Lucky received a scholarship to a Catholic school. When Cassius wandered into the Columbia Boxing Gym, it seemed to be destiny, and he developed into a successful youth boxer. Told in two voices, with prose for the voice of Lucky and free verse for Cassius, the narrative provides readers with a multidimensional view of the early life of and influences on an important figure in sports and social change. Lucky’s observations give context while Cassius’ poetry encapsulates his drive, energy, and gift with words. Combined with dynamic illustrations by Anyabwile, the book captures the historical and social environment that produced Muhammad Ali.

A stellar collaboration that introduces an important and intriguing individual to today’s readers. (bibliography) (Biographical novel. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-49816-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more