I haven’t read The Boy Who Dared: A Novel Based on the True Story of a Hitler Youth to my children. They aren’t ready for it yet.
I will keep this title in mind, though, when my older two study World War II again. By then, they will be old enough for this book. And it’s a good one.
Author Susan Campbell Bartoletti tells the story of Helmuth, a boy who grew up in Nazi Germany and was a part of the Hitler Youth. Then, at the ripe old age of 17, he was executed for treason.
It’s a fascinating story – made even better by Bartoletti’s Author’s Note in the back of the book, with pictures of Helmuth and his family, the facts of Helmuth’s life, and the explanation of how she came up with the novel from the facts presented.
This book will bring up great discussions about standing up for what’s right, protecting those you love, and how to know when it’s time to question and perhaps even disobey, authority. The topics are heavy, so I’d recommend this book for older children. I’d prefer my children to be at least junior high age before reading it, but some older elementary students may be able to handle it.