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 a doctoral candidate in Holocaust & Genocide Studies at Gratz College and is Director, Holocaust, Genocide & Human Rights Center at Mercer County Community College. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.