A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Russell Freedman’s We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler is the story of a group of university students who wrote and secretly distributed thousands of leaflets urging the German people to resist the Nazi regime. Although it's a short read (only 112 pages), the story is emotionally intense as the White Rose members continually put their lives in danger. Dozens of archival photos may make even reluctant readers want to explore the text and learn more about the story. While violence and the threat of violence is a constant undercurrent, it is never graphically described. But some readers, especially younger ones, may be disturbed that the students they come to know in the book will be arrested and executed by guillotine. Freedman’s awards and honors include the Newberry Medal, three Newberry Honors, the Sibert Medal, and a National Humanities Medal.
What's the story?
Between June 1942 and February 1943, a student movement calling itself the White Rose wrote and clandestinely distributed six leaflets urging the German people to resist the tyranny of the Nazi regime. "Offer resistance -- resistance -- wherever you may be ... before it’s too late," said the first White Rose leaflet. Always traveling alone, brother and sister Hans and Sophie Scholl and a small group of friends carried leaflets in backpacks and suitcases, distributing them to groups in other cities or leaving them in telephone booths, on car windshields, or in apartment house lobbies. One of the few civilian resistance groups, the White Rose was the subject of a desperate manhunt by the Gestapo. Sophie and Hans were ultimately arrested at their university and quickly condemned to death. The arrest and execution of many other members of the White Rose followed. But copies of the leaflets found their way to London, and at the end of 1943, British warplanes dropped tens of thousands of White Rose leaflets over German towns.
Is it any good?
A heart-stopping true story and inspiring characters make this a must-read lesson in courage, friendship, and the power of the written word. The wealth of photos in WE WILL NOT BE SILENT -- of Sophie, Hans, their family members, and other White Rose members; the spot at Munich University where Sophie and Hans were arrested; defendants at the Nazi’s infamous People’s Court; and the prison where Sophie and Hans were executed -- give a sense of immediacy to the text.
Freedman’s easy, accessible prose style makes it an equally compelling read for both younger and teen readers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about when it’s right to resist authority. Is there something happening in your community or your school that you think is unjust? What do you think can be done to correct this injustice?
The White Rose members had to physically distribute the leaflets, putting them in constant danger. If the Internet had existed in 1942, do you think it would have taken an equal amount of courage to defy the Nazis online?
If betraying a friend would save you from being punished, would you do it?
Themes & Topics
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For kids who love history and stories of World War II
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