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.
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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.