December 2011 Issue
November 23, 2011

Check it out : The Boy Who Dared

Author: Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Source: NYSUT United
Check it out : The Boy Who Dared

Recommended by: Sarah Pendergast, middle and high school librarian, Lansingburgh Teacher's Association

Suitable for: Eighth grade through high school

Why I chose it: This fictionalized biography illustrates the life of a young German boy, Helmuth Hübener, during Hitler's rise to power in the late 1930s and early 1940s. What began as a boy's hope for his country quickly turns to misgivings, doubt and disgust for the Nazi party. Helmuth's gift for writing provides him with the tools to create and distribute resistance propaganda during a tense political climate. His acts of bravery (and alleged treason) lead him to endure torture, prison and, ultimately, death.

What I like best: Bartoletti provides a point of view not often found in juvenile and young adult World War II literature; the story of the courageous and resistant German.

How teachers can use this book: This book not only has strong ties to the social studies curriculum, it is also a prime example of a non-linear narrative. Through the use of flashbacks, Helmuth recalls his earlier days as he awaits his sentencing in a German concentration camp jail.

"Check it Out" features books recommended to teachers and parents by school librarians. Have a recommendation? School librarians may send your suggestions, along with your name and local union, to