Call Across the Sea

  • Review
By – March 15, 2022

Call Across the Sea is a sto­ry that par­al­lels Lois Lowry’s clas­sic Num­ber the Stars in many ways. Both books tell the sto­ry of coura­geous Dan­ish peo­ple who helped save Jews dur­ing World War II. What makes this sto­ry par­tic­u­lar­ly excit­ing is the dis­cov­ery that Call Across the Sea is based on the life of an actu­al per­son, young Hen­ny Sindig, although the author informs us that she adjust­ed Henny’s age with­in the story.

Six­teen-year-old Hen­ny is not a par­tic­u­lar­ly good stu­dent, as her real love is being out on the sea with her father, the head of the Light­house and Buoy Ser­vice. He is respon­si­ble for bring­ing sup­plies to the light­house, which is sit­u­at­ed between Den­mark and Swe­den. Hen­ny has a close rela­tion­ship with her Jew­ish neigh­bors and friends, the Rubin fam­i­ly. As she learns about the Nazis’ plan to round up Denmark’s Jews, her friend Lukas and she decide that they must join the Resis­tance and fight the Nazis to the best of their abil­i­ties. At first, Hen­ny and Lukas attend Resis­tance meet­ings and hang up anti-Nazi fly­ers, but, lat­er, Hen­ny devis­es a plan to fer­ry Denmark’s Jews to safe­ty in Swe­den. Her expe­ri­ence in cap­tain­ing her father’s boat and fol­low­ing his sea­far­ing route make it pos­si­ble for Hen­ny to suc­ceed in this vital life-sav­ing mission.

It is remark­able to read about the brav­ery of real-life young peo­ple who helped the Jews of Den­mark sur­vive. Kacer’s prose is acces­si­ble and allows today’s read­ers to under­stand and appre­ci­ate the dan­gers faced both by the Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty and their hero­ic res­cuers. Although fic­tion­al­ized, the sto­ry of Hen­ny Sindig is very much worth read­ing, and her name should be more well known. Read­ing Call Across the Sea is one good way to teach chil­dren about this his­toric event and will help keep Henny’s mem­o­ry alive.

This book is the fourth in a series, The Heroes Quar­tet, about brave young peo­ple who stood up to Nazi ter­ror and risked their lives to save Jews in ways both note­wor­thy and courageous.

Cindy Wiesel is an Eng­lish teacher in Israel and leads a week­ly book club for adults. She has edit­ed teacher resource mate­ri­als and served as a col­lec­tion advi­sor to school libraries.

Discussion Questions