Parents' Guide to

Girl in the Blue Coat

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Extraordinary tale of Dutch teens resisting the Nazis.

Girl in the Blue Coat Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 9+

Great book!

My kids and I are reading this together. It’s a great book. The characters are great and as you learn more about them all their circumstances become increasingly complex in an already complex world. Hanneke navigates through tremendous loss, from the loss of her country to Nazi occupation to the loss of the boy she loved to war to the loss of her very self to a detached cynicism she’s built up as a protective mechanism. The plot is a mystery so it has some satisfying twists and turns. In the end Hanneke goes from seeing only her own survival and own loss to seeing the loss of the people around her. For more sensitive readers, there is a character death and my son and I were quite shaken by it. Shaken because we were into the story. My kids are 8 and 11 and both have done well with the content. I hope anyone approaching the Shoa is including eye witness stories and not only fictionalized but as fiction goes, it was engaging and educational.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
1 person found this helpful.
age 16+

good quick read

good book. there is a gay relationship mentioned however. simple plot. educational. would recommend to a friend

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (9 ):

Impeccably researched and beautifully written, this unforgettable World War II novel about a young Dutch smuggler's life-changing decision to find a missing Jewish girl is poignant and fascinating. The plot is unputdownable: a mix of emotional coming-of-age revelations plus the intense realities and horrors of WWII and the riveting central mystery of what happened to Mirjam. Readers will feel compelled to keep going, as Hannie digs herself deeper into the dangerous waters of resistance work, discovering exactly what's happening at Amsterdam's legendary Schouwburg Theater, which imprisons Dutch Jews awaiting deportation. When she first walks into the Schouwburg, with memories of the last time she saw a show there, she's immediately overwhelmed by the terrifying reality of what the Nazis are doing.

Although there are definitely painful and disturbing passages, the author's prose is crisp and accessible to younger readers. The language is artful without being flowery, and the plot is layered without being convoluted. Even adult readers will learn a great deal about the Dutch role in the war as an occupied country with a mostly Aryan populace the Nazis felt could be assimilated into German culture. Hesse contextualizes various aspects of Dutch responses to the war, from the young woman who falls in love and marries a Nazi (and therefore betters her station) to the black market smugglers to the onderduikers and student resistance workers who did everything from help people go into hiding to try to save Jewish children by having them secretly adopted by well-meaning gentiles. This is the ideal book for a parent-child read-along, an extracurricular book club, summer school reading, or simply the pleasure of a book that entertains, expands your horizons, and teaches you all at once.

Book Details

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