Michael at the Invasion of France, 1943

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When the Nazis invade Paris, Michael, a thirteen-year- old French-American, wants to be a part of the Resistance. Starting small, vandalizing Nazi propaganda and refusing to hail Hitler, Michael works his way into the full-blown Resistance, escorting American aviators to safe zones and delivering important spy documents. But when an injured pilot needs help to escape France, will Michael be brave enough to complete the mission?

With historical notes, time lines, and maps to ...

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Michael at the Invasion of France, 1943

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When the Nazis invade Paris, Michael, a thirteen-year- old French-American, wants to be a part of the Resistance. Starting small, vandalizing Nazi propaganda and refusing to hail Hitler, Michael works his way into the full-blown Resistance, escorting American aviators to safe zones and delivering important spy documents. But when an injured pilot needs help to escape France, will Michael be brave enough to complete the mission?

With historical notes, time lines, and maps to augment the page-turning action, it's easy to see why School Library Journal says Boys of Wartime "will appeal to history buffs and reluctant readers alike."

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Editorial Reviews


"Delivers taut action and adventure"

From the Publisher
"Delivers taut action and adventure" — Booklist

"An absorbing adventure" — Kirkus

"The action is intense" — School Library Journal

Children's Literature - Rachelle Andrade
What could a twelve-year-old boy possibly do to resist the Nazi army that has taken his city by force? This is the dilemma that Michael and his friend Jacques face during the German invasion of Paris in 1943. Although his father, a soldier in the French army, has been missing since the Battle of France, Michael and his mother are convinced that he is still alive in England and has not given up. This inspires a myriad of emotions within Michael, who vows to resist the German soldiers in any way that he can. He is motivated partly by fear that his father will be disappointed in him for the role Michael believes he played in allowing his brother Georges to be taken prisoner by the Nazis. Soon Michael finds a way to resist the Germans that goes beyond tearing down posters and yelling "viva la France!" He becomes part of a secret alliance responsible for helping downed American and British aviators escape the country so that they may engage in battle once again. Along the way, Michael is forced to make crucial choices and learns important life lessons that enable him to become a young man who can feel satisfaction in his actions instead of guilt. This engaging novel from the "Boys of Wartime" series is filled with suspense, as Michael risks his life and his family's safety in the name of liberty. Readers will learn a great deal about World War II as they share in the fear and suffering of those who were oppressed during this time. In addition, this book includes a historical time line of the war, a list of pertinent characters during this period, and a description of children's roles in the French resistance. Reviewer: Rachelle Andrade
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—The invasion of France and arrest of his brother make 13-year-old French American Michael keen to join the Resistance. The movement and activities of French citizens are immediately restricted once the Nazis take over, with crueler treatment extended to the Jewish population. A young Jewish child is hidden and smuggled to safety, while a respected teacher who speaks out against the Nazi regime disappears. Michael and a friend form a resisters club; eventually he joins the official Resistance movement, delivering forged identification papers for Allied soldiers and assisting an injured American pilot to safety. The story is short on characterization and long on action, which should draw in reluctant readers of historical fiction. The fear French citizens feel is palpable, and Michael's shock at discovering friends in the Nazi youth unit and the Resistance is realistically portrayed. The action is intense, particularly in scenes involving a near-disastrous encounter with a Nazi during a rescue attempt and Michael encountering an interloper while attempting to deliver Resistance materials. While Calkhoven's research is apparent, it never threatens to overtake the story line and action. Extensive back matter includes a detailed time line and brief biographies of key historical figures.—Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, VA
Kirkus Reviews
A young Parisian joins the French Resistance in this Boys of Wartime series entry. Motivated equally by patriotism, hatred for the occupying boches and a desire to win the esteem of his absent father, Michael joins a friend in distributing taunting leaflets. His involvement in Resistance activities soon escalates into helping captured British and American airmen make their way to Spain. At first he acts only as a courier of forged identity documents, but later he helps first to slip a Jewish neighbor's child out of the city, then hides an ailing American fugitive in his family's apartment before accompanying him south over the Pyrenees. Meanwhile, he serves as a witness to the anxieties and physical hardships of wartime life under the Nazis, while seeing friends, neighbors and his own older brother taken away and ultimately earning sufficient self-esteem to lose his dependence on his father's regard. Calkoven's characters are simplified types, but she crafts an action-oriented plot that is suspenseful without being explicitly violent and is also well stocked with carefully researched details. A timeline and multiple notes at the end provide quick overviews of the tale's historical background and the war's overall course. An absorbing adventure that wears its twin informational and character-development loads lightly. (map, glossary, reading list) (Historical fiction. 10-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803737242
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 2/16/2012
  • Series: Boys of Wartime Series, #3
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 588,957
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 660L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.81 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Laurie Calkhoven lives in New York City. This is the third book in her Boys of Wartime series.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 29, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Growing up in a hurry in WWII France

    Hitler's Nazis army is swarming over France and young Michael, still a child on the cusp of becoming a teen, feels very inadequate since his father was fighting for France and has since safely landed in England and Michael's Brother is in a German prisoner of war camp. Little does he know the tremendous role history will allow him to play in saving lives and foiling the plans and plots of the Gestapo. Somehow he stumbles into the French Resistance movement where teens, women, and men (who can) are involved aiding in the escape of Jews and downed Allied pilots. Each day is filled with peril for even the most innocent in their midst. Michael's friends in the Durand family are his entry into the French Resistance, and yet he sees them captured by the Gestapo from the information one of his childhood friends who is a German collaborator provided the Germans. While this is a novel about a child during World War II, it is packed with historical reality with war and resistance movement material telling what life was really like during that time. It becomes a living history that brings vivid understanding to a child or adult. Author Laurie Calkhoven has provided wonderful historical supplemental notes at the end. Plus a history of the role of children in the French resistance. Some facts about the Historical Characters who are mentioned in the book are also provided in the notes. I always love it when a list of unfamiliar words is given defining them for the understanding of readers. History teachers will love this book as a resource since it includes a time line for the war period and a Further Reading list of books that can be used for reference. I highly recommend this book as an exciting read for children 8 to 14 and recommend that every school and library stock their shelves with copies of each of Laurie Calkhoven's books. Other Boys of Wartime books by Laurie Calkhoven I have reviewed: Daniel at the Siege of Boston 1776 Will at the Battle of Gettysburg 1863 DISCLOSURE: The author, Laurie Calkhoven provided a complimentary copy of Michael at the Invasion of France 1943" so that I could render my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not requested to provide a positive review. The book will be placed in the library collection at Alamance Christian School.

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