Smith, Dan My Brother’s Secret, 304 pages. Chicken House (Scholastic), AUG 2015. $17. Language: PG (6 swears, 0 ‘f’); Violence: PG (beatings); Mature Content: G.
Karl enjoys the activities of the Deutsches Jungvolk and looks forward to full membership in the Hitler Youth just as soon as he is a bit older. Then comes word that his father has been killed on the front lines of the war. When Karl’s mother falls into despair at the news, Karl, his brother Stefan and their mother to go Karl’s grandparents’ home for help. There Karl meets a girl whose feelings about youth group participation is the opposite of his and he also finds out that his brother is involved in some shady anti-Reich activities. Combined with confrontations with the local SS commander, Karl starts to think about what the Third Reich actually represents.
Smith brings up the historical fact that some Jungvolk and Hitler Youth members turned in their own family members for anti-war sentiments in the 1930’s and 40’s. There is plenty of tension and anger to hold many students’ attention if they are interested in ready about the German side of World War II.
MS - ADVISABLE. CIndy, Middle School Librarian, MLS.