Tag: middle grades

Friant’s Video Friday: Allies by Alan Gratz

Today Kim brings you a video review of Allies by Alan Gratz.

 Allies
Author: Alan Gratz

Published: October 15, 2019
325 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

June 6, 1944: The Nazis are terrorizing Europe, on their evil quest to conquer the world. The only way to stop them? The biggest, most top-secret operation ever, with the Allied nations coming together to storm German-occupied France.

Welcome to D-Day.

Dee, a young U.S. soldier, is on a boat racing toward the French coast. And Dee — along with his brothers-in-arms — is terrified. He feels the weight of World War II on his shoulders.

But Dee is not alone. Behind enemy lines in France, a girl named Samira works as a spy, trying to sabotage the German army. Meanwhile, paratrooper James leaps from his plane to join a daring midnight raid. And in the thick of battle, Henry, a medic, searches for lives to save.

In a breathtaking race against time, they all must fight to complete their high-stakes missions. But with betrayals and deadly risks at every turn, can the Allies do what it takes to win?

Kim’s Video Review:

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

A Father’s Promise

A Father’s Promise
Author: Donna Lynn Hess
Published: February 1987
250 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

“[You are] either a German or a Christian; you cannot be both.”

Adolph Hitler’s ominous statements seem only a distant threat to eleven-year-old Rudi Kaplan. But when the Nazi forces invade Poland and bomb his home city of Warsaw, Rudi finds out that he is Hitler’s enemy not only because he is a Pole but also because he’s a Jew and a Christian.

The next few years change Rudi’s life forever. With only his imprisoned father’s promise that they will be reunited after the war, Rudi must learn how to survive in hiding, how to be truly brave, and how to overcome the hatred of his enemies. He must learn to die to himself and to trust the God who is mightier than any army.

Kim’s Review:

I read this book so many times as a kid! My mom always loved it, it was assigned reading in elementary school, it’s published by BJUP, so of course I was gonna read it, but then I fell in love and read it over and over again through my school years. It’s such a great book to help teach kids about WWII and the Holocaust without being too graphic.

**Fair Warning**: It is a very Christian book and if a kid hasn’t had any exposure to the Bible, then they aren’t going to understand certain portions of this book.

This reading completely surprised me by making me cry through the whole book. Never once have I shed a tear when reading A Father’s Promise. But this time, the same story that I’ve known and loved almost my whole life, made me weepy! Rudi and his father’s faith never wavered, even in a time of such horrible circumstances. Seeing the struggles of the Polish people under the Nazis, even before deportations, and in a way that is appropriate for kids, hit me in a new way. I would absolutely recommend this to any kid, even those who haven’t heard Bible lessons. It’s such a great educational tool!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Words on Fire

Words on Fire
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Published: October 1, 2019

336 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

Danger is never far from Audra’s family farm in Lithuania. She always avoids the occupying Russian Cossack soldiers, who insist that everyone must become Russian — they have banned Lithuanian books, religion, culture, and even the language. But Audra knows her parents are involved in something secret and perilous.

When Cossacks arrive abruptly at their door, Audra’s parents insist that she flee, taking with her an important package and instructions for where to deliver it. But escape means abandoning her parents to a terrible fate.

As Audra embarks on a journey to deliver the mysterious package, she faces unimaginable risks, and soon she becomes caught up in a growing resistance movement. Can joining the underground network of book smugglers give Audra a chance to rescue her parents?

Kim’s Review:

I really love Nielsen’s books, especially her historical fiction series. She does such a great job of telling the stories of some of the forgotten heroes of history and she does it with respect and style. Unfortunately, this is not my favorite of that series. It’s not a bad book by any means, I just had some issues with it. I felt a disconnect with Audra that I didn’t want to feel. She wasn’t as likable as Nielsen’s other characters. She strayed into that “idealist” territory, where a lot of preaching happens but not a lot of common sense. Of course books are important and for many people in Lithuania under Russian Imperial rule, they were a lifeline to their language and culture. For some reason, it just felt shallow. In the shadow of big country with a stronger army, the resistance seemed ineffectual. There was no balance between passive and military resistance.

I know that the freedoms we enjoy today, of being able to drive to just about any store and buying any book we want, made book running then look like such a small thing. And that was my own shortcoming while reading this book. I just missed the emotions and feels that I got from her other books. I would still recommend this to history teachers and teens because there are excellent lessons to be learned. I personally felt distant from the story, and that makes me sad.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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