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COURAGE AND DEFIANCE, Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and Survivors in World War II Denmark

Author: Deborah Hopkinson

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Publisher: Scholastic Press, 2015

Material: hard cover

Summary: On April 9, 1940, the Nazis took over Denmark. The government surrendered to the Germans without resistance. For a time, Danes were able to go about their "normal routines." Before long, though, things began to visibly change - and not for the better. Danish citizens began to resist. First as individual citizens, then as a movement. These are the stories of the resisters (saboteurs, military officials, intelligence officers, propagandists, guides) and the risks they took to achieve freedom for Denmark and all Danes. This is a narrative nonfiction history of the resistance movement in Denmark during World War II.

Type of Reading: independent reading

Recommended Age: read together: 10 and Up; read yourself: 13 and Up

Interest Level: 13 and Up

Reading Level: 7.7

Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: This is not one, but several compelling personal stories about the Danish resistance in World War II. I learned a ton about World War II history, but what will stay with me is the amazing story of how the Danes rescued and saved 95% of its Jewish population. I was in awe of how many survived, including the Kieler family. The author's approach to creating "hooks" at the end of the chapter adds a sense of urgency and suspense that compel the reader to keep going.

Pros: This slim book is packed with powerful stories and personal reflections of Danes who operated as part of the Danish Resistance Movement in World War II.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is an outstanding nonfiction book. It is an excellent choice for those who love history and intrigue, and could also hook dormant readers, as well.

If You Liked This Book, Try: THE BOY ON THE WOODEN BOX; How the Impossible Became Possible . . . on Schindler's List   IMPRISONED; The Betrayal of Japanese Americans During World War II   AFTER THE TRAIN

Educational Themes: The author packs a ton of research into this book. Readers could extract material to create a timeline with key events or catalysts. There is also enough information to create biographies on several of the featured resisters. The way that the material is presented can open interesting discussions for readers: why would citizens support the Germans (and turn on their friends)? what were the "tipping points" for various members to join the resistance? what personality traits / life experiences helped these men and women in their jobs?

Notes: This publisher sent a copy of this book as part of the 2015 Children's and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Award (Cybils) process. This review is not intended to represent the opinions of the Cybils. The book will be donated to a reader in need.

Literary Categories: Nonfiction - history, War, Young Adult, Judaism, 1940s

Date(s) Reviewed: February 2016

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at and


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