Helmuth Hubener lives in Hamburg, Germany, with his mother and two brothers during the time Adolf Hitler becomes Fuhrer of Germany. Helmuth watches as the Nazis come into power and his own life changes. School changes. His rights and the rights of those around him disappear. No one speaks out. Silence is rampant. Then, one day, he decides to let his voice be heard, to speak the truth and not to live in this dark silence any longer. This story is based on the true life story of Helmuth Hubener. This book is truly for readers old enough to understand and handle some very harsh truths. 1
92 pages 978-0439680141 Ages 12-16
Every librarian has fielded the query, "Where are your books like Anne Frank?" What the patron wants are books dealing with personal lives and experiences under Hitler's Third Reich. Right off, I would recommend Kathryn Lasky's just published Ashes (see specific review) and Bartoletti's 2008 coming-of-age novel, The Boy Who Dared.
"Boy" offers a vivid portrayal of the recruiting attraction, methods, and tactics of the Hitler Youth organization. As the German schoolboy, Helmut Hubener, matures, he learns and realizes what is really going on. Emotional and unquestioning nationalism and patriotism is no longer enough to rationalize and defend Nazi principles and behavior. Finally, seventeen-year-old Helmut has to choose either "my country right or wrong" or remain true to his own convictions and conscience.
If, after reading the above titles, interest remains, I also recommend the author's Hitler Youth:Growing Up In Hitler's Shadow (2005), Please be aware, "Anne's Diary" need not be alone on the library shelf. Clara's War: One Girl's Story Of Survival (2009) by Clara Kramer, Zusak's The Book Thief (2006), Sara's Key (2008) by Tatiana de Rosnay, and We Are Witnesses (1995) by Boas are some other titles worth considering. Of course, don't forget that classic 1986 graphic novel, Maus.
Finally, teens can't help but identify and empathize with the "White Rose" youth resistance in Nazi Germany especially brother and sister, Hans and Sophie Scholl. Besides the captivating 2005 award winning movie Sophie Scholl: The Final Days, my library's collection includes Inge Scholl's The White Rose (1970), Sophie Scholl & The White Rose (2006) by Dumbach & Newborn, and Hans And Sophie Scholl ( 2005) which is a title in Rosen's "Holocaust Biographies" series.
Recommended by Robert L. Hicks, Librarian, Kansas USA
A powerful and gripping novel about a youth in Nazi Germany who dares to the truth about Hitler, written by a Newbery Honor Book author.
Susan Campbell Bartoletti has taken one episode from her Newbery Honor Book, Hitler Youth, and fleshed it out into a thought-provoking nonfiction novel. When 16-year-old Helmut Hubner listens to the BBC news on an illegal short-wave radio, he quickly discovers Germany is lying to the people. But when he tries to expose the truth with leaflets, he's tried for treason. Sentenced to death and waiting in a jail cell, Helmut's story emerges in a series of flashbacks that show his growth from a naive child caught up in the patriotism of the times, to a sensitive and mature young man who thinks for himself.---from the publisher