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The Boy Who Dared
Cover of The Boy Who Dared
The Boy Who Dared
Just as the Nazis are rising to power, Helmuth Hübener, a German schoolboy, is caught up in all the swashbuckling bravado of his time. The handsome stormtrooper uniforms, the shiny jackboots and...
Just as the Nazis are rising to power, Helmuth Hübener, a German schoolboy, is caught up in all the swashbuckling bravado of his time. The handsome stormtrooper uniforms, the shiny jackboots and...
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  • Just as the Nazis are rising to power, Helmuth Hübener, a German schoolboy, is caught up in all the swashbuckling bravado of his time. The handsome stormtrooper uniforms, the shiny jackboots and armbands, the rousing patriotism all serve to draw him into this bright new world full of promise and hope. In the beginning his patriotism is unwavering. But every day the rights of people all over Germany are diminishing. Jews are threatened and their businesses are being destroyed. The truth has been censored, and danger lurks everywhere. Anybody can turn on you. The world has turned upside down: Patriotism means denouncing others, love means hate, and speaking out means treason. How much longer can Helmuth keep silent? Told in flashback, Newbery Honor Book author Susan Campbell Bartoletti magnificently explores the life of a heroic German youth who dared to stand up against the Nazi regime.
 

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About the Author-

  • Susan Campbell Bartoletti encountered Helmuth Hübene's amazing story while writing Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler‚s Shadow. She was so moved by his heroic actions that she wanted to flesh out his story into a fictional form. She also wanted to provide a dramatic meditation on the meaning of his short life that raises questions about moral courage, nationalism, and the responsibility of the individual. Ms. Bartoletti is the author of many award-winning books for young people. She lives in Moscow, PA, with her husband. They have two children.

Reviews-

  • AudioFile Magazine Seventeen-year-old Helmuth HŸbener, a German schoolboy, awaits execution for treason by the Gestapo. As he sits in his jail cell, he reflects on his childhood. Just seven in 1935, he was caught up in the growing patriotism, full of promise and hope. However, the ensuing years find him sickened by the Nazis' oppression of the Jews, their invasions of neighboring countries, and their suppression of the truth. The story unfolds in the third person, which David Ackroyd narrates with an American accent. He deftly switches to a German accent during dialogue, adding richness to the listening experience. Ackroyd convincingly conveys Helmuth's courage as he dares to speak out for the truth. An author's note giving back story about the real Helmuth HŸbener and a Third Reich timeline are included. L.A.C. (c) AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from February 11, 2008
    Returning to material she uncovered while researching Hitler Youth
    , Bartoletti offers a fictionalized biography of Helmuth Hübener, a Hamburg teenager who, in February 1942, was arrested for writing and distributing leaflets that denounced Hitler. Almost nine months later, on October 27, at the age of 17, Hübener was executed for treason. Opening her story on Hübener's last day, Bartoletti frames the work as third-person flashbacks, casting over the narrative a terrible sense of doom even as she escalates the tension. She does an excellent job of conveying the political climate surrounding Hitler's ascent to power, seamlessly integrating a complex range of socioeconomic conditions into her absorbing drama of Helmuth and his fatherless family. The author also convincingly shows how Helmuth originally embraces Hitler. His disillusionment seems to come a little too easily; American readers may wonder why Helmuth's reactions were not more common. But that question resolves itself as the author exposes the chilling gap between her own admiration for her subject and reflections, discussed in an afterword, from those who knew Helmuth, as in this comment from his older brother: “He should have known better than that.... A sixteen-year-old boy cannot change the government.” Ages 11-up.

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