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Girl in the Blue Coat

September 3rd, 2019 - Posted in Library News -

by Monica Hesse, 301 pages, Grades 8 and up

Hanneke is growing up in Holland during World War II; she is trying to help her family make ends meet by working in a funeral home. Even that is not enough, so when her boss suggests she would be good at working in the Black Market, she decides to do this job as well. The Black Market, illegal secret trade,  arose when many goods that people were accustomed to having access to suddenly became scarce because the Nazis were taking them all for themselves. Some things could be found and secretly traded if you had money. Hanneke looks German enough to have more freedom than many living under the German occupation; she is also clever and has figured out how to weasel out of sticky situations cooly. Hanneke’s boss and Hanneke find things people request, people of Amsterdam pay dearly, and Hanneke makes deliveries. She feels like she is doing her best to survive a terrible wartime situation, but one day someone asks for someONE instead of someTHING and she suddenly feels the true weight and cost of this terrible war. 

If you like books about World War 2, we have a lot of different stories from that period. Under The Blood Red Sun, by Graham Salisbury takes place in Hawaii after Pearl Harbor is bombed, Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys is about refugees at the end of the war trying to escape via the ship called Wilhelm Gustloff, Invasion, by Walter Dean Myers is about D-day, and All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr, a book written with an adult audience in mind, but with young characters is about the occupation of France by Nazis. 

 

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