The Brave Cyclist: The True Story of a Holocaust Hero
Author: Amalia Hoffman
Illustrator: Chiara Fedele
To Be Published: August 1, 2019
Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Read: June 13, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Once a skinny and weak child, Gino Bartali rose to become a Tour de France champion and one of cycling’s greatest stars. But all that seemed unimportant when his country came under the grip of a brutal dictator and entered World War II on the side of Nazi Germany. Bartali might have appeared a mere bystander to the harassment and hatred directed toward Italy’s Jewish people, but secretly he accepted a role in a dangerous plan to help them. Putting his own life at risk, Bartali used his speed and endurance on a bike to deliver documents Jewish people needed to escape harm. His inspiring story reveals how one person could make a difference against violence and prejudice during the time of the Holocaust.
The Brave Cyclist is not your typical picture book. It tells the true story of Gino Bartali who was a small child who ended up winning the Tour de France twice in his lifetime and also became an important figure in World War II by helping to save the Jewish people of Italy. I did not know Gino’s story until I read this picture book. It shows how drive and determination really can help one person make a difference in a time of need. Gino would ride his bicycle 110 miles one way and he was even jailed for something he did not do. He not only risked his life, he also risked his family’s life.
There is an afterward included that informs us of Gino’s life. His story is well known in Italy, Gino’s hard work deserves recognition in history books worldwide. This story is aimed for children ages 9-12 and should be included in World War II coursework. This book needs to be in school libraries!
The only critique I can offer is that some pages the text takes up most of the page, so it may be a bit much for a picture book, but the well done illustrations definitely compliment the story.
Special thanks to Capstone for granting me an e-arc via NetGalley.