by Mary Casanova
Synopsis: When German bombs shatter Marit’s peaceful village life in Norway, she and her family begin a long and harrowing wartime-occupation experience that will test their strength and courage. Her parents begin work underground in the resistance movement as Marit and younger brother Lars are sent to a coastal island to live with their grandfather, Bestefar, and their aunt, Ingeborg.
Though Norway was occupied for five long years, Norwegian resistance efforts were strong. For refusing to teach Nazi propaganda, one of ten teachers was sent to a concentration camp. Tensions arise when Marit’s grandfather seems unwilling to rock the boat and stand up to the Germans, even after her aunt (his daughter) is taken away one day.
When Marit happens upon a wounded Norwegian soldier, her own fear of what could happen if the Germans caught her assisting him almost causes her to turn her back on the man. Somehow she finds the courage to hide him, and to finish the mission he begs her to take on.
Evoking the grim reality of war and its effects on ordinary citizens, this suspenseful historical tale is also noteworthy for drawing attention to a region of Europe not commonly featured in children’s fiction about World War II. The author, Mary Casanova, appends an enlightening author’s note, a glossary (with pronunciations) of foreign words, and suggestions for further reading about wartime Norway. Casanova lives in Minnesota. Her ancestors are Norwegian.