Enemies meet. A life is spared. But is mercy always moral?
An extraordinary middle-grade novel about a the young man who met a young Adolf Hitler and could have stopped WWII, from the author of War Horse.
England, 1940. Barney’s home has been destroyed by bombing, and he and his mother are traveling to the countryside with all their worldy belongings in one suitcase. When German planes attack, their train is forced to take shelter in a tunnel and there, in the darkness, a fellow passenger―a stranger―begins to tell them a story about two young soldiers who came face to face in the previous war. One British, one German. Both lived, but the British soldier was haunted by the encounter once he realized whose life he had spared: the young Adolf Hitler.
The British soldier made a moral decision. Was it the right one? Readers can ponder that difficult question for themselves with Michael Morpurgo's latest middle-grade novel An Eagle in the Snow.--from the publisher
160 pages 978-1250105141 Ages 10-14
As the bombs fall over their home in England during World War II, Barney and his mother make the decision to leave their city and board a train to move out to safety. But the Luftwaffe spots the train and strafing begins. Luckily a tunnel lies ahead and the train maneuvers into it and waits quietly in the darkness until the planes are gone.
The darkness frightens Barney and a stranger finds he has a matchbook filled with five matches. He carefully lights a match and while the flame glows, he tells a story to keep Barney's mind off the danger around them.
This is the story of a man named Henry who during World War I had a moment when he could have killed an enemy soldier by the name of Adolf Hitler. Of course, there was no way Henry could have foreseen the future. He simply made a moral choice not to kill up close.
But after World War I, Henry sees a photograph of Adolf Hitler and remembers his chance encounter with the man. Does Henry hold the burden, the responsibility of having missed the chance to eliminate this evil human being?
Based on the true story of Billy Byron, this is a brilliant exploration of compassion, moral decisions and the story of one man..his story... our history.
160 pages 978-1250105141 Ages 10-14
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com
"What if a British soldier had a chance to shoot Hitler on a WWI battlefield but opted to let him go instead? . . . The stranger’s descriptions of Billy’s compassion and emotional turmoil are gripping in their own right, but Morpurgo will catch some readers off guard with supernaturally tinged twists he drops in the final chapters and epilogue. Originally published in the U.K. in 2015, this is an intricately crafted contemplation of the wrenching consequences of good intentions gone awry." ―Publishers Weekly
"World War II has ravaged England, including the homes on Mulberry Road. Ten-year-old Barney and his mother are headed out to the country to Aunty Mavis’s home with all they have left in the world inside their luggage. A stranger boards the train and takes the seat across from them. After some small talk, the train begins to trudge forward, and they settle in for the ride. Suddenly, a German fighter plane surges from the sky and attacks the train. With the rat-a-tat of bullets pelting the train, the conductor races down the track toward a tunnel. As he slams on the brakes, everyone is plunged into total darkness. ... To pass the time, the stranger tells the story of two young soldiers from the previous war. The British soldier was the most decorated private of the First World War. The German soldier just might have been Hitler himself. This work of historical fiction, divided into four parts, will leave middle grade readers on the edge of their seats as they try to determine who the stranger is and how this random encounter during World War I could have altered history. Another gripping historical novel from the author of War Horse." ―School Library Journal
"Morpurgo’s gentle WWII tale is loosely based on a real British soldier who may or may not have spared Adolf Hitler’s life during WWI. ...The casual tone of the story the stranger tells is in compellingly sharp contrast to the powerful questions it raises about duty and honor. A couple of light twists at the end are not entirely unexpected. Morpurgo concludes the book with information about Henry Tandey, the real Billy Byron." ―Booklist
Praise for Listen to the Moon:
“A poignant and life-affirming story from a master.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Morpurgo offers powerful descriptions of shipwreck, mass drowning, and devastation, as well as healing and growth.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Superbly written. . . . This is one of Morpurgo's best works to date; a first purchase for middle grade and teen collections.” ―School Library Journal