Out­run­ning the Nazis: The Brave Escape of Resis­tance Fight­er Sven Somme

Matt Chan­dler

  • Review
By – September 22, 2017

This series of graph­ic nov­els cel­e­brates instances of hero­ism in the face of threats and pos­si­ble death dur­ing World War II. In these four vol­umes, the heroes include a Nor­we­gian spy and resis­tance fight­er, a group of Allied pris­on­ers as they dig their way out of a Ger­man POW camp, and a young Amer­i­can pilot shot down over Nazi-occu­pied ter­ri­to­ry. Only one title, Death Camp Upris­ing, con­tains Jew­ish content.

Each vol­ume opens and clos­es with a chap­ter of text. Sto­ry­telling in graph­ic form occu­pies the bulk of the pages and height­ens a sense of action and adven­ture. The sto­ry­telling is engag­ing and cap­tures the ten­sion of the escapes, while the illus­tra­tions make the accounts more acces­si­ble for young read­ers. While the dia­logue is fic­tion­al, the escapes the books are based on are fac­tu­al; the heroes were all real people.

At times, logis­ti­cal mat­ters are glossed over. The font in the graph­ic sec­tion may make it dif­fi­cult to read, and not all chal­leng­ing words are includ­ed in the glos­sary, mak­ing the con­tent less appro­pri­ate for the tar­get­ed readership.

The series, does, how­ev­er, effec­tive­ly present the scope of Nazi pow­er dur­ing WWII for young read­ers ages 9 to 12 years.

Addi­tion­al Titles Fea­tured in Review

Bar­bara Kras­ner is the author of many books across gen­res, includ­ing fic­tion, poet­ry, cre­ative non­fic­tion, and chil­dren’s lit­er­a­ture. Her recent titles include 37 Days at Sea: Aboard the M.S. St. Louis, 1939, Civil­ian Casu­al­ties in War and Ethel’s Song: Ethel Rosen­berg’s Life in Poems. Her book Goldie Takes a Stand! Gol­da Meir’s First Cru­sade was a recip­i­ent of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Hon­or Award. She holds a Ph.D. in Holo­caust and geno­cide stud­ies from Gratz Col­lege, teach­es in the Holo­caust and geno­cide stud­ies pro­gram at the Col­lege of New Jer­sey, and serves as direc­tor of the Mer­cer Coun­ty Holo­caust, Geno­cide, and Human Rights Edu­ca­tion Cen­ter. She also holds an MFA in writ­ing for chil­dren and young adults from the Ver­mont Col­lege of Fine Arts.

Discussion Questions