Book Title: Boy from Berlin | Author: Nancy McDonald | Category: MG | Publisher: Iguana Books | Release date: May 7, 2018
Book Description: Berlin, April 1938. One night, eight-year-old Käfer Avigdor uses his specialty toilet-paper roll binoculars to spy on his Mama and Aunt Charlotte. The whispered conversation he overhears alerts him to a danger he didn’t know existed and starts him rethinking who he really is and where he belongs. Within hours, Käfer and his family flee their comfortable life. In a desperate race to stay one step ahead of the Nazis, Käfer is called on to be braver and more resourceful than he ever imagined possible. But will it be enough? Boy from Berlin is based on real people and actual events.
My Thoughts: One of my favorite things about reading a good book is being swept into another time or place and feeling what it might have been like to actually be there. Boy from Berlin takes readers through a tense journey as Europe readies for war. From their comfortable life in Berlin to the promise of a new life in Canada, Käfer and his family fight their way to the safety of the shores of England from where they intend to immigrate to Toronto. Through evocative descriptions of 1930s fashion, mouth-watering meals and dense, smoky skies, readers get a clear sense of life in 1938.
Käfer is a charming, clever child who strives to outdo his older brother to win his father’s favor. As he navigates new friends, new schools and dangers he’s never imagined, Käfer pieces together the horrors of WWII. Gently viewed from a child’s perspective — Käfer collects information and finds clues about the Nazis and their plans. His determination to help his family escape and make his parents proud of him are endearing throughout the story.
Underlying this fictional story are so many historical and geographical details from actual events that happened in the author’s family that it is sometimes hard to believe the story is fiction. The text, written for 8-12 year olds, expertly portrays the tension and dangers of WWII in a child-appropriate way. Boy from Berlin reads like a classic, middle grade adventure story with a quick pace that never bores.
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Nancy McDonald began her career as a journalist on television programs that include W5, Canada AM, and Marketplace before going on to become a sought-after freelance writer, penning everything from documentaries to live-action scripts to comic books. One Boy’s War is the highly anticipated sequel to Boy from Berlin. Nancy lives in Stratford, Ontario, where she revels in Shakespeare, takes theatergoers on tours of the Costume Warehouse, and treads the boards with the Perth County Players. She also works part-time at Fanfare Books, Stratford’s only independent bookseller.
connect with the author: website ~ twitter ~ instagram ~ goodreads
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