The Night Spies

The Night Spies

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by Kathy Kacer

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is the middle of World War II, and, with the help of trusted friends, Gabi, her mother and her cousin Max go into hiding in a tiny mountain village. It takes great willpower to endure months of fear in their cramped hiding space at the back of a barn, and eventually Gabi and Max sneak out for the first of many secret nighttime walks. Through the discovery of


is the middle of World War II, and, with the help of trusted friends, Gabi, her mother and her cousin Max go into hiding in a tiny mountain village. It takes great willpower to endure months of fear in their cramped hiding space at the back of a barn, and eventually Gabi and Max sneak out for the first of many secret nighttime walks. Through the discovery of anti-Nazi partisan soldiers camped in the nearby woods and new roles as partisan scouts, Gabi and Max find strength and courage, and a renewed sense of hope in dark times.

Editorial Reviews

Canadian Review of Materials Magazine
"There is never a dull moment in this story which is suspenseful, dramatic and action packed. The battle scenes are vivid and the human interactions compelling. The Night Spies is a great book for both genders and a memorable read. Highly recommended."
Children's Literature
Gabi is a young Jewish girl living in a small town in Czechoslovakia during World War II. When it becomes too dangerous for Gabi, her mother and cousin Max to remain at home, a kind neighbor takes them to live with a Catholic farmer out in the countryside. Mr. Kos and his wife prepare a small hiding place in the loft of their barn for Gabi and her family. It is cramped and uncomfortable in the loft, where the three of them must hide from the Nazis during the day. At night, they may come into the Kos home for a meal and conversation and to stretch their legs. The children weary of this boring routine until one night Max convinces his cousin to go for a walk in the nearby woods. This leads to an association with local partisans fighting the Nazis. Readers will find themselves drawn to Gabi and her plight. She is a sensitive and brave girl and has a close relationship with her mother. Her mother's concerns for their safety in the cold, drafty barn are palpable. Although the author does not detail Nazi atrocities in the concentration camps, readers understand that innocent Jews are being rounded up and killed. Will Gabi and her family be discovered by Nazi soldiers, or will they survive until the Allied forces defeat the enemy? Readers will feel anxious as the war drags on. The plot is based on a true story and the dialogue and characters are believable. Important history is conveyed in an accessible way for children learning about the Holocaust. This title is one in the publisher's "Holocaust Remembrance Series for Young Readers." 2003, Second Story Press, Ages 9 to 13.
—Jeanne K. Pettenati, J.D.
How would you like to live in a space the size of your closet? For Max, Gabi, and her mother, this is a reality. Germany's horrible dictator, Adolph Hitler, forces them into hiding in a dark, damp, cold barn where they live among animals. Gabi and Max are two determined adolescents caught in the middle of World War II. During this time being Jewish meant living in concentration camps, hard labor, unbearable conditions, and, in most cases, death. This family finds a way to stay alive in hiding through the good graces of others—a priest, a family friend, and a gracious farmer. As any teens would, Gabi, Max, and their newfound friend Eva become curious about the war; they want to help. Sneaking out in the night, they dive head first into a new kind on danger they never knew before—the Nazi soldiers. When they find an anti-Nazi group hiding in the forest, they realize just because they are young does not mean they cannot make a difference. But will the Nazi's catch them? Will they be found in their hiding place? Will they starve to death? Or will they see the possibility of a brighter future once the war is over? Like most adventures, this thrilling story is written with suspense; it has its ups and downs. The reader is left guessing what will happen each time Max, Gabi, and Eva go out for another dangerous journey. This wonderful story is based on real events and real characters. 2003, Second Story Press, 197 pp. Ages young adult. Reviewer: Tiffany Thornton
In 1944 Czechoslovakia, the Nazis are rounding up the Jews. Aided by a compassionate neighbor, thirteen-year-old Gabi, her mother, and an eleven-year-old male cousin escape to a small mountain village where they are hidden in the barn of Christian friends. Because of the confines of their hiding place, the children are soon bored and restless. One night they sneak out into the yard and then into the forest where they come upon a band of partisans. When the children agree to serve as an extra set of eyes and ears, they return night after night until the town is liberated by the Russians. Young readers will be sympathetic toward the characters, and they will be caught up in the realistic, fast-paced story line with a preponderance of dialogue. A collage of the author's family photographs at the end help to further personalize the story. The author, however, fails to let the story speak for itself. Rather than creating a beautiful piece of literature that subtly weaves factual information into the story line, she leads the reader and packs factual information into the book. This didactic approach causes the book to fall short. These flaws, however, will not bother some readers. Although backmatter is usually confined to nonfiction titles, this book, the fourth in the Holocaust Remembrance Series for Young Readers, contains a section of even more factual information as well as a time line and the photo album. VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P M (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2003, Second Story Press, 148p.; Photos. Chronology., Trade pb. Ages 11 to 14.
—Mary Ann Capan
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-The courage of righteous Gentiles and partisans during World War II creates a focal point for this account of Jews hiding from the Nazis in Czechoslovakia. Gabi, her mother, and her cousin are given sanctuary in a Christian family's farmhouse. Max has joined his relatives after walking 10 kilometers from his own village following his parents' murder by the Nazis. The cramped conditions are clearly described as are the risks taken by the family and the priest. Gabi and her family can only come out after dark, and readers can feel the difficulty and boredom of remaining quiet and hidden. This isolation provides the impetus for the two youngsters to sneak out in the night only to find a group of partisans in the forest, and the children become scouts for them. Many books have been written about the Holocaust, but there is appeal in Kacer's oft-exciting story and its focused depiction of the drudgery and risks faced by the Jews and anyone who helped to combat the Nazis' progress. Peopled by well-drawn characters, this is an engrossing novel inspired by experiences of Kacer's own family. Some of the history is presented in a heavy-handed way and seems to be superimposed on the story itself, but for the most part the book will appeal to fans of Lois Lowry's Number the Stars (Houghton, 1989).-Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Second Story Press
Publication date:
Holocaust Remembrance Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.75(w) x 5.50(h) x 0.50(d)
750L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 13 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Kathy Kacer has won many awards for her books about the holocaust for young readers, including Hiding Edith, The Secret of Gabi’s Dresser, Clara’s War and The Underground Reporters. A former psychologist, Kathy tours North America speaking to young people about the importance of remembering the Holocaust. For more information, visit

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The Night Spies 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I will be reviewing the book, “The Night Spies.” The author Kathy Kacer. She wrote this book to inform children of the Holocaust and to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive. This book is an exciting and interesting book. It lets you see what the people faced during the Holocaust. I believe that any young reader would enjoy reading this book. In the middle of World War ll, Gabi her mother and cousin Max are escaping there town that has been invaded by the Nazis soldiers. With the help of some trusted friends, Gabi, her mother, and her cousin Max, go into hiding in a small mountain village. After months of being cramped in their small hayloft, Max and Gabi decide to go out on a secret night walk. On one of the night walks they run into partisan soldiers camping out in the woods. Every trip they take into the woods is dangerous and risky to their lives, but the chance to help the partisans fight the Nazis gives them the courage to continue their walks. In this book there are many exciting events. The events take place in a small mountain village in Olsavica. This book was based on a real family who had to hide during the Holocaust. The main characters of this book are Gabi, Max, her mother, Mr. and Mrs. Kros, and Eva. All the information and events go together well, and pictures at the end go with the story. “Hello, a voice from outside called.” It is Mrs. Kros neighbor, she is unaware that Gabi is in the house. This event is scary because Gabi and her family could get caught. I believe this book would get the attention of any young reader. The book “The Night Spies,” is a interesting and exciting book. I think that it is a good book for young readers. The story starts out as the family is on their way to a small mountain village in Olsavica. The family has to leave there recent home because of all the Nazi soldiers. An old family friend helps to hide the family. One night when Gabi and Max get bored they decide to leave the hayloft and go on a night walk. The night walks are dangerous. On one of the night walks they run into partisan’s soldier, which are trying to defeat the Nazis. Once Gabi’s mother discover the children gone she begins to worry. She lets them to continue their regular night walks. After a year and a half Hitler is finally defeated and Gabi, her mother, and her cousin Max are finally free to go back home.