The Nazis have occupied France, and Marcel Christophe’s world is suddenly full of mysteries.
It’s 1942, and 12-year-old Marcel and his parents hate the German Occupation and the changes it has brought to their little town of Aucoin—the presence of soldiers, rationing, and shortages of food and gas. Now, since the Nazis have invaded the Free Zone, the streets have even more soldiers, and as it turns out, Marcel’s new friend, Delphine Gilette, and her family are in danger when it’s discovered that they are Jewish. Marcel makes frequent bread deliveries from his parents’ bakery on his bicycle, and when he discovers a note hidden in a loaf, he begins to realize that his parents are part of the Resistance. Their undercover work now must include helping Delphine and her family. “Why is your family doing all this?” she asks Marcel. “Because we have to. It’s the right thing to do. We can’t just give in to…them. We can’t,” he replies. McDonough’s third-person narrative tells Marcel’s story in simple, straightforward prose, seamlessly incorporating historical detail, including information about Marcel’s passion, the Tour de France.
A fine story of war, friendship, and taking a stand against injustice. (historical notes, glossary, further reading) (Historical fiction. 8-12)