The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Cindy: I’m booktalking historical fiction today and am reminded of one of my favorite books of 2008 that flew under the radar. It was published early in the year, and has one of the best covers with an embossed dead bolt and window on the cover that adds to the appeal. In The Boy Who Dared (Scholastic, 2008) Bartoletti fictionalizes one of the true stories shared in her Newbery Honor winning nonfiction title, Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow (2005). Helmuth Hubener, originally a patriotic Hitler Youth, listens to an uncensored BBC radio broadcast and learns what is really happening. Haunted by the truth, and determined to share it, he secretly types up the news (using carbon paper–a technology I have to explain to my young students) and, with some friends, distributes the pamphlets in the dead of night. The novel opens on Helmuth’s execution day and he tells his riveting story in flashbacks from his prison cell. I’ve never bought so many hardcover copies of an historical fiction title to meet teen demand and I still don’t have enough. This is one the students are hand selling to each other or are picking up because of the fabulous cover. I’ve also had good luck selling them on Hitler Youth once they’ve read this one. If you missed this last year, add it to your reading list.

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

4 Comments on "The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti"

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  1. jhank623@comcast.net' Jen W. says:

    Thanks for this! I am always looking for good Holocaust/WWII novels to add to my huge collection!

  2. rchrdson@sbcglobal.net' Michele R says:

    Since starting to work in the middle school library, I’ve been reading many YA books. I read this one and thought it very good. For those looking for a good Holocaust story on the adult level, I recently read Sarah’s Key by Tatiana De Rosnay and found it a very good read.

  3. npetx197@yahoo.com' Nick P says:

    I am an 8th grade student. I have never really enjoyed reading, but once I picked up this book, I could not put it down. The fastest I hav ever read a book was 6 days. I read this book in less than 24 hours. I was up reading this book until 4 in the morning on the edge of my seat reading this excellent book. I recommend it to any reader looking for a good book to bury themselves in to.

  4. sschaeffer97@gmail.com' Shauna S says:

    i agree with nick !

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