It is Copenhagen, Denmark, April, 1940 and the Nazis have just invaded the city. David, the son of a baker, is eight years old. He sees Nazi soldiers as they strut around the city exerting their power and is told by his father that he should never talk about the Allies or mention the war.
One day, unaware of the importance of an errand his father asks him to do, David carries a box of éclairs to a customer. He is stopped by two Nazi soldiers who eat two of the pastries. Fortunately, they do not eat the one that has a piece of paper in it with train schedules. This is information that allows the Resistance to successfully bomb the tracks where supplies are being transferred to Germany and delivering it is David’s special errand. Subsequently, a Nazi officer visits his classroom and reminds everyone that it is a serious offense to harm “any soldier of the Reich”. David has to force himself “not to flinch.”
Later, it is 1943, Erev Rosh Hashanah and the rabbi tells the congregation they must escape immediately as tonight is the night the Nazis plan to round up all the Jews. With the table set for the special holiday meal, David’s family leaves. Aided by their non-Jewish neighbors, they take a boat to Sweden. Only David’s sister who is a member of the Resistance is unable to join them.
This book is understated but powerful, a gentle introduction to the Holocaust. It does not have graphic descriptions of horrors and torture, but conveys the seriousness of the situation in vignettes and drawings suitable for younger students.
Originally published as Honey Cake in 2007, this book has an easy reading format. It includes an afterword with historical background, a recipe for the honey cake featured in the story, a map, a timeline of World War II, and additional historical material to add detail to some of the events in the story. Recommended for ages 8 – 11.