Hoose, Phillip. The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Petersen and the Churchill Club. New York: Ferrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, 2015.
I read Lois Lowry's NUMBER THE STARS a long time ago, so I had forgotten her story takes place in Denmark. So does THE BOYS WHO CHALLENGED HITLER: KNUD PEDERSEN and the CHURCHILL CLUB. The only difference is that this is a true story about a group of teenage boys who began the Danish Resistance Movement when German troops stage a peaceful overthrow of the Danish Crown in 1940 as part of their offensive in Europe. While some Danes, didn't mind, the boys thought their country was cowardly, especially when they considered how the Norwegians were fighting. They heard of massacres and deportations in Norway and wondered how this could be right. The boys began meeting on a regular basis to plan ways they could simply sabotage the German troops stationed in Denmark. Using bicycles and operating in broad daylight, the group pestered the troops to the point that the Danish police were looking for the perpetrators. This is the story of some crazy and courageous effect the Churchill Club had on their countrymen. The story was quite readable, and quite appropriate for a YA audience. The boys in the book transform from innocent children to teenagers older than their age because of the events that take place. Still, there is humor and intrigue running through the story. The research is quite solid, and the book is based mainly on interviews with Knud Petersen, who founded the club with his brother, Jens. It is a perfect non-fiction piece to accompany NUMBER THE STARS or HITLER YOUTH by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. I could definitely see this book as a supplementary text in Global Studies, World History, Journalism. The author includes a selected bibliography for readers who want to learn more. It's an unbelievable story. Reading it has made me more aware of the world.
Reviews and Awards
A Booklist Editors’ Choice • A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year and Best Teen Book of the Year • A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year • A New York Public Library Notable
“An outstanding addition to the WWII canon . . . Hoose brilliantly weaves Pedersen's own words into the larger narrative of Denmark's stormy social and political wartime climate.” —The Horn Book, starred review