On Rough Seas

At 14, Alec knows what he wants to be: a seaman. Instead of working at his family’s inn, he prefers roaming through the busy streets and docks of Dover. When the captain of the Britannia, one of the fishing vessels in the Channel, asks him to be a galley boy, he seizes the opportunity in spite of his father’s objections. On his first day at sea, he weathers a severe storm similar to the one that took the life of his cousin and best friend, Georgie, months earlier. Alec still feels guilty for having not been able to save Georgie. England is at war with Germany, and soon Alec is doing more than swabbing the deck and handling the ropes of the fishing vessel. He wonders why shadowy figures are disappearing into the tunnels under the old stone castle and who the special soldiers being billeted at the inn are. Then comes terrible news: hundreds of thousands of British forces are trapped on the beach at Dunkirk. All ships in the Channel, large and small, are ordered to undertake a massive evacuation. Alec’s transformation from galley boy to courageous seaman is a riveting journey in this dramatic debut novel.

The Mozart Question

Like any young boy, Paolo becomes obsessed with what he can’t have — in his case, a violin. Hidden away in his parents’ room, it beckons the boy to release the music inside it. The music leads Paolo to a family secret, a story of World War II that changed the course of his parents’ lives. But once the truth is told, the family is reunited in a way no one had thought possible.

Hitler Youth: Growing Up In Hitler’s Shadow

“I begin with the young. We older ones are used up . . . But my magnificent youngsters! Look at these men and boys! What material! With them, I can create a new world.” –Adolf Hitler, Nuremberg 1933 By the time Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, 3.5 million children belonged to the Hitler Youth. It would become the largest youth group in history. Susan Campbell Bartoletti explores how Hitler gained the loyalty, trust, and passion of so many of Germany’s young people. Her research includes telling interviews with surviving Hitler Youth members.

Climbing the Stairs

A remarkable debut novel set in India that shows one girl’s struggle for independence. During World War II and the last days of British occupation in India, fifteen-year-old Vidya dreams of attending college. But when her forward-thinking father is beaten senseless by the British police, she is forced to live with her grandfather’s large traditional family, where the women live apart from the men and are meant to be married off as soon as possible. Vidya’s only refuge becomes her grandfather’s upstairs library, which is forbidden to women. There she meets Raman, a young man also living in the house who relishes her intellectual curiosity. But when Vidya’s brother decides to fight with the hated British against the Nazis, and when Raman proposes marriage too soon, Vidya must question all she has believed in. Padma Venkatraman’s debut novel shows a girl struggling to find her place in a mixed-up world. Climbing the Stairs is a powerful story about love and loss set against a fascinating historical backdrop.

Take a closer look at Climbing the Stairs as examined in WOW Review.

Different Kind Of Courage

In 1940, the Germans have come to Paris and Bertrand, his mother and sister are fleeing. Meanwhile, the Germans have not come to the south of France, where Zina and her family live–but there’s no work for ethnic Russians like Zina’s papa. Both Bertrand and Zina must go to America in order to survive. Each shows fear in a different way, but finally, through friendship, finds hope again.