Book Review: The Boys Who Challenged Hitler

July 14, 2016

The Boys Who Challenged Hitler
Phillip Hoose
209 pages
Kindle Edition

From the Publisher:

At the outset of World War II, Denmark did not resist German occupation. Deeply ashamed of his nation’s leaders, fifteen-year-old Knud Pedersen resolved with his brother and a handful of schoolmates to take action against the Nazis if the adults would not. Naming their secret club after the fiery British leader, the young patriots in the Churchill Club committed countless acts of sabotage, infuriating the Germans, who eventually had the boys tracked down and arrested. But their efforts were not in vain: the boys’ exploits and eventual imprisonment helped spark a full-blown Danish resistance. Interweaving his own narrative with the recollections of Knud himself, here is Phillip Hoose’s inspiring story of these young war heroes.

This thoroughly-researched and documented book can be worked into multiple aspects of the common core curriculum.


If you have followed my blog this year, you already know I have read a lot of war fiction this year.  If you are new here – welcome!  For whatever reason, I’ve read a lot of books about war in the last couple months.  A friend and I were discussing books at work the other day and she mentioned she had just read this book.  Of course, I went home and read it that night.

The Boys Who Challenged Hitler is a non-fiction book and tells the fascinating story of a handful of young men who fought back in Denmark when Germany came into their country during WWII.  These boys came to one conclusion – that if the adults wouldn’t act, that they would. Their story is one of strength, action, dedication and standing up for what is right.  Youth taking action into their own hands.  We need more of this today!

The story is comprised from interviews, conversations and research. Much of the book is told first hand and it is a little known part of WWII history. I think this book would appeal more to boys, since it’s told by the boys, from their point of view and it’s geared towards middle readers, so any teen interested in WWII could easily pick this up and read it.  If you are a teacher, this would be a great book to add to your classroom library. I really enjoyed the epilogue of the book that gave readers an insight to what happened to some of these boys and what they did with their lives after these years.

Not all things that are right come easy in life.  And some good things are hard and worth fighting for. The boys in this book were imprisoned and suffered many hard years, but they stood up for something that was right. I think it’s an empowering book and can really show kids that they can make a difference.

Great read.

Final Score:

5 stars

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