Innovative World War II Book for Kids

Today I have an innovative World War II book for kids.  This book is really like nothing I have read before.  Artwork and text are comingled making the story come alive.  It is about a German theologian who worked from inside the German regime to try and take Hitler down.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer walked a tricky line, but his absolute belief in what was right carried him forward to the ultimate sacrifice.  I found his story absolutely inspiring.

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Title: The Faithful Spyinnovative world war II book for kids the faithful spy

Author: John Hendrix

Target: Grades 6 and up

Series: No

What this book is about:

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born in Germany into a family of scientists.  He felt a calling to religious life and became a theologian.  With the rise of Hitler, Dietrich was one of the first to become worried about the role the church was playing in the new government.  Even without extensive knowledge of the genocide occurring, Dietrich knew that the church could not contribute to the anti-Jewish policies so he started a religious resistance.  When that no longer become tenable, he joined the government working undercover to help with two unsuccessful plots to kill Hitler.  He knew that faith demanded action and that looking on was not Christian behavior.

Why I love this book:

  • The format of this book is fabulous.  This is not a graphic novel, nor would I call it an illustrated book.  It is more of a visual and written journey into the life and spirituality of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  The layout makes very complex topics more digestible.  I frankly couldn’t really imagine most kids getting through this story in a traditional text format.  However, in this narrative style kids will be engaged.
  • I am not usually too keen on religious elements in books, but this one was a pleasant surprise.  The author talks about how “Dietrich was moved to take action in the face of injustice, even though he initially felt no injustice himself.” and how the “Nazis could never truly conquer a heart of sacrifice.” That this strength came from a love of Christ, in no way changes the truth of the message.  Wherever a person garners inspiration for their courage is fine and the fact that they act is what the author is celebrating in this book.
  • Finally, I have a personal tie to the story.  My ancestors are of German descent and some were Lutheran pastors. While my family came to America in the late 1800s, well before either World War, I still felt a sense of being associated with the wrong side of history.  It was encouraging to hear of the resistance in Germany to Hitler and that there were those of faith who knew better and did better.

Who this book is for:

This story is not for sissies!  There is some complex stuff, but there is also a solid foundation of history embedded in the story so kids who want to learn about WWI and WWII will not be disappointed.  Kids who like Nathan Hale will especially appreciate this book as well as kids who enjoyed Bomb.

Final thoughts: 

Blown away by this one.  It is innovative and has a message that bears repeating in the current global wave of nationalism.  

To purchase this book:

Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: The Faithful Spy.  A portion of each purchase will go support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

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