Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘world-war-two’

Friends Journal has “no hesitation in recommending [A Year of Borrowed Men] for families, meetings, and schools”

Posted on May 11th, 2017 by pajamapress

AYearOfBorrowedMen_Website“The text is clear and accessible to young readers. The narrative is interesting for reading aloud. The illustrations are beautiful full-page, and sometimes double-page, spreads, all in generous color. For me they combine clarity and immediacy with an evocative quality from the picture books of my own childhood.

I have no hesitation in recommending this book for families, meetings, and schools. The apparent simplicity of style and narrative offers opportunities for exploration of such matters as the definition of ‘enemies,’ how people change and behave under oppression and stress, how friendship can be demonstrated in the little, unassuming acts of everyday life.

Since the 1940s of my childhood, Germans are ‘enemies’ only in novels and films. But there is in the twenty-first century no shortage of so-called ‘enemies.’ The challenge of this book is to ask: How can we escape from the bondage of defining as ‘enemies’ people who don’t conform to our narrow definitions of ‘friends’? How can we welcome, accept, and value people we think of as ‘them’?

My friend’s granddaughter has been looking at books with me. My friend was born a few months before me, and like Gerda, he was born in Germany. He has lived in England for many decades. Although our families were ‘enemies’ when we were born, we have known nothing but friendship with each other. This book reminds me that such friendship is a precious fruit of peace that requires eternal vigilance and attention to the little things.”

Click here to read the full review

A Year of Borrowed Men takes “a very human look at hard times” says There’s a Book For That

Posted on March 28th, 2017 by pajamapress

AYearOfBorrowedMen_Website“…Told from a child’s perspective, this book is a very human look at hard times in European history. Full of tender and sweet moments and the harsh realities of suspicion sand cruelties of war.”

Click here to read the full review

Resource Links calls Uncertain Soldier “Compelling”

Posted on June 18th, 2015 by pajamapress

UncertainSoldier“Erich Hofmeyer is an uncertain soldier. He enlisted in the German navy only because his father left him no choice, and now his ship has been sunk, and he is in in a POW camp in northern Alberta. His British grandparents have given him a broader world view than his fellow German soldiers, and he becomes a target of vicious bullying when he expresses what is perceived as disloyalty to the Reich. When the opportunity arises to leave the camp to work in the bush logging, he and his friend jump at the chance. But the logging camp has its complications: half the workers are Canadians who hate the German prisoners because of the deaths or imprisonment of relatives fighting overseas. At a nearby farm, Max Schmidt is also uncertain. His father wants him to be proud of his German heritage, but he is bullied daily at school by the other boys, who take out their anger on this little “Hitler”. Max’s family is under suspicion, as all German nationals were, so there is no one to whom Max can take his concerns. On a visit to the logging camp, he is befriended by Erich, who senses their shared experiences. The German prisoners at the camp are increasingly endangered by mysterious accidents, and in their fear they turn on Erich as the only one who speaks English fluently. The attacks on Max become more vicious, until he barely escapes being hanged. Max takes off into the bush, and only the skill of the native tracker Christmas and Erich’s help save him from drowning. Both Max and Erich have learned to stand up to an enemy and stand up for a friend. Bass has shone a light on a lesser known part of Canadian history. German nationals living in Canada were discomfiting for many communities, at a time when husbands and sons were fighting and dying in Europe. This novel shows solid research into the conditions of the 38,000 German POW’s in Canada, and life in rural Alberta in the 1940s…the visceral details and important themes make the journey compelling.”

Thematic Links: Friendship; Bullying; Stereotyping and Racism; World War II – Canada – POW Camps

—Patricia Jermey

Bear on the Homefront “an elegant book”—CM Magazine

Posted on June 20th, 2014 by pajamapress

BearOnTheHomefront_Internet“One of the best Canadian picture books of 2012 was A Bear in War. The team of Stephanie Innes, Harry Endrulat, and Brian Deines have collaborated again to bring readers another adventure of the teddy bear that now resides in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa..Those who enjoyed the first book will find the quality of the sequel equally impressive and the story equally engaging…

Brian Deines is one of Canada’s foremost illustrators. His heavily textured oil on canvas paintings are a visual treat…Bear on the Homefront is an elegant book that parents and educators will enjoy sharing with young children. Highly Recommended.”

Click here to read the full review.

 

School Library Journal praises “nonstop action” in Graffiti Knight

Posted on May 1st, 2014 by pajamapress

GraffitiKnight_Med“It is 1947, and life is hard for 16-year-old Wilm and his family. The city of Leipzig, in southeast Germany, is controlled by the Soviets, who are brutal masters. The Germans are constantly hungry because the Soviets have significantly reduced their food rations. Even worse, the German police, Schupos, are puppets of the Soviets. Wilm and his friends like to skulk around and pretend to battle the enemy, but the war becomes real when he experiences just how powerless his community really is against them…The last quarter of the book is nonstop action…Wilm is a flawed but engaging protagonist, prone to headstrong actions, and he matures believably over the course of the story…Bass does a fine job of opening readers’ eyes to the harsh realities that so many German civilians faced after their country’s defeat, regardless of whether they had supported the Nazi regime.”

—Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA

Graffiti Knight nominated for R. Ross Annett Award

Posted on April 11th, 2014 by pajamapress

GraffitiKnight_MedPajama Press is proud to announce that Graffiti Knight by Karen Bass has been nominated for the R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature.

Administered by the Writer’s Guild of Alberta, the R. Ross Annett Award was established in 1982 in honour of the author of the popular Babe & Joe series.

A historical novel about a young man struggling to find his voice in Soviet-occupied East Germany in the years after World War II, Graffiti Knight is the winner of the 2014 CLA Young Adult Book of the Year Award. It was also chosen as a 2013 Ontario Library Association Best Bet and a 2013 Resource Links “The Year’s Best” selection.

Graffiti Knight is “an eye opener”—Ms. J’s Book Reviews 4 School Libraries

Posted on January 27th, 2014 by pajamapress

GraffitiKnight_Med“I thoroughly enjoyed the pace and historical details in this novel.  Karen Bass—the author, gave me a sense of the difficulties of living in a communist, post war Germany in 1947.  I learned many details and now I have even more questions about life after World War 2.”

Click here to read the full review.

Graffiti Knight “has more drama than The Hunger Games” – Resource Links

Posted on November 5th, 2013 by pajamapress

GraffitiKnight_MedRated E: excellent, enduring, everyone should see it!

“This notable fourth novel by Karen Bass should add an interesting dimension to the current fashion of [dystopian] novels. It is based on real evens from post-war Europe (1947 to be exact) in what is now East Germany. For my money, it has more drama than the Hunger Games.

The hero of the novel is a teenager in Leipzig, a broken city whose citizens live in fear of their new oppressors, with no hope of escape. Wilm is almost finished school and quite by accident finds himself waging a war of embarrassment against the German police he considers to be puppets of their Soviet masters. His campaign gains momentum and a shift in focus after he learns that his sister had been raped the year before by a group of Soviet soldiers when she had gone to the train station to meet her German soldier boyfriend. Wilm had idolized the boyfriend, who then joined the German police. Wilm sees the betrayal as doubly troubling.

In the midst of all this is the budding friendship between Wilm and a structural engineer who works for the Soviets, although not by choice. He mentors Wilm until Wilm strikes a compromising deal with the German police and the ex-boyfriend in an effort to save a close friend from imprisonment. Left to his own devices, Wilm commits one more account of defiance and lands all his friends and family in trouble. The only escape is complete escape – to the Americans on the other side of the border with Czechoslovakia.

Five of them set out on a life or death path to hoped-for freedom, aware that the price will be steep and the journey treacherous. They are pursued by the ex-boyfriend who uses his professional resources in what is now a personal vendetta.

Author Karen Bass and author Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch (Making Bombs for Hitler, The Hunger, Last Airlift) are cousins. Between them they have brought to life vital portraits of life before, during, and after war, regardless of locale or allegiance. By not resorting to fantasy to carry their work, they have done all of us a great service.

P.S. Graffiti Knight is a great title.

Thematic links: World War II; Adolescence; Communism; Post-war Germany; The Cold War; Rape; Civil Disobedience.”

Lesley Lute

Learn more about Resource Links.

CM Magazine praises Graffiti Knight as “second to none”

Posted on September 20th, 2013 by pajamapress

“Karen Bass’ depiction of life in post-war Eastern Germany is incredibly gripping and informative. As young adult war-related historical fiction goes, this book is second to none. The story is loosely based on the true story of a close family friend of the author, making her protagonist all the more realistic and relatable. Readers will find themselves seeing the war-ravaged vantages through Wilm’s eyes and feeling his pulse racing as Wilm sprints from the scene of his crimes, avoiding enraged Soviet officers and Schupo. Wilm’s triumphs and fears become the readers’ own.  I believe this book could well be used as a supplement to World War II historical education in Canadian high schools. Highly recommended.”

– Amy Trepanier

Click here to read the full review.

 

Graffiti Knight Book Trailer

Posted on September 6th, 2013 by pajamapress

Award-winning author Karen Bass brings readers a fast-paced story about a real-world era of censorship and struggle too often forgotten by history: Soviet-controlled post-World War II East Germany, where one boy fights for self-expression and the freedom to build his own future.

Watch Graffiti Knight Book Trailer