The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club by Phillip Hoose
About: At the outset of World War II, Denmark did not resist German occupation. Deeply ashamed of their nation’s leaders, a group of teenagers resolved to take action if the adults would not. Naming their secret club after Winston Churchill, the young patriots in the Churchill Club committed countless acts of sabotage which frustrated and enraged the occupying forces. Eventually the Nazis were able to track down and arrest the boys. But their efforts were not in vain: the gang’s illegal activities and imprisonment helped spark a full-blown Danish resistance. Interweaving his own narrative with the recollections of Knud himself, this is Phillip Hoose’s inspiring and thought provoking story of a group young heroes.
Roben’s thoughts: I loved this story about a group of Danish teens who banded together to fight their own private war against the Nazis. It is a true David vs. Goliath story. On April 9, 1940, the Germans occupied Denmark with no resistance. Some Danes welcomed the Nazis, but most were angry as they watched the soldiers march in and take over their country. They felt helpless – what could they do? Well, a group of teenagers decided not to stand by and watch; instead, they chose to stand up to Hitler’s occupation by sabotaging anything they could and stealing as many weapons as possible. They met secretly and plotted to create chaos. They knew what they were doing was dangerous – and illegal – yet they continued to place themselves in harm’s way until, finally, they were arrested and sent to prison. Their fate then rested in the hands of the Germans – would they be executed or sent to labor camps? This true story will have you sitting on the edge of your seat to see what happens next to the brave boys in the Churchill Club! But be forewarned – this book makes you think! What would you do in a similar situation? How far would you be willing to go in order to fight back against another country taking over your home? 6th grade and up should enjoy reading about these brave teens and their fight against the Nazis!
Reviewed by Roben