The Boy Who Dared

Written by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Review by Arleigh Ordoyne

Based on a true story, this telling reimagines the life of a young boy who grew up in 1930s Germany, was part of Hitler Youth, and yet went on to resist the Nazi regime. Helmuth Hübener knew from a young age that his thoughts and beliefs were different from those around him. Though he realized that he should not voice in them in the heated political climate, at times he couldn’t stay silent as his mother recommended. He watched in horror as his Jewish friends and neighbors were persecuted, dissenters were jailed, and his rights were taken away, one by one. This extraordinary 16-year-old boy risked everything to form a grassroots resistance movement that consisted of copying news from banned British radio broadcasts to pamphlets for public distribution.

For some it is hard to understand how such a horrible thing as the Holocaust could have been allowed to happen. This is the perfect read for young adults to learn about the events that lead to WWII, and how the atrocities were overlooked by the masses. It is also a courageous and inspiring story in spite of the depressing subject matter—Helmuth’s short history contains many valuable lessons and his memory is to be revered. A well-paced chapter book, The Boy Who Dared is the perfect complement to its non-fiction counterpart, Hitler Youth, Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow. This printing contains an author’s note, map, timeline, photos and a bibliography.