Written by Russell Freedman, this book presents the true story of the White Rose, a group of students in Nazi Germany who were active undercover agents of the resistance movement against Hitler and his regime.
Gr 6–8—Though the story of the White Rose student resistance in Nazi Germany has been told elsewhere, Freedman’s focus on the youth of the participants will resonate with readers. Hans Scholl, a free-spirited teen who became disillusioned by the enforced conformity of his Hitler Youth group, joined a banned rival group that discussed forbidden books, and there were no uniforms or marching. Younger sister Sophie got in trouble for reading a book by a Jewish German poet and questioning the pervasive anti-Semitism of her society. While attending school in Munich, the siblings became active in a group of anti-Hitler pamphleteers. The story has its share of dark turns, including arrests, lengthy detentions, and the eventual trial and execution by guillotine of Hans and Sophie. But Freedman treats these aspects gracefully, and the overarching message is one of defiant resistance in the face of overwhelming evil. “You will go down in history,” their father, an outspoken pacifist, told them after their conviction. “There is such a thing as justice despite this. I am proud of both of you.” Stock photos from the period are adeptly interspersed with personal snapshots and portraits to create a strong visual component. VERDICT A highly readable and well-documented overview of a fascinating aspect of World War II.—Bob Hassett, Luther Jackson Middle School, Falls Church, VA –Bob Hassett (Reviewed 03/01/2016) (School Library Journal, vol 62, issue 3, p175)