Lately, I’ve had the good fortune of reading books about World War II that cover events and people that I had never heard of before. These books, like Bessie’s Pillow, shows the experience of World War II through a different perspective.
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Shadow on the Mountain by Margi Preus is one of those books. This story is a fictionalized account of a teenage boy who lives in Norway during the German occupation in World War II. Like many Norwegians, Espen is not content to let the Nazis take over. Instead he and many of his fellow country men and women join the Resistance.
Espen starts out with small assignments, but as he proves his skill, the Resistance depends on him even more. By the end of the war, when Espen is just 17, he has quite an important role in the Resistance.
While many of Espen’s friends join the Resistance, some take a different path. At least two of them, Aksel and Kjell, join the Nazis. Why? They believe in what the Nazis are doing, and they also can help their parents and grandparents by earning extra ration cards and luxuries that the rest of the country’s citizens can no longer get like coffee and chocolate.
Espen’s story is an exciting one as his role in the Resistance grows. By the end of the book, he’s given his most important mission–scouting a Nazi camp where other Nazis in Europe are expected to go as Allies push them into surrender.
This is an exciting book written for young adults that offers a perspective on the war that most people don’t see or consider. Even more exciting is realizing that this story is based on the events of a real teenage Norwegian boy.
If you want to get your middle schooler interested in history, this may be just the book to do so.
I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.