scrounge: /skrounj/ informal verb: to actively seek [books] from any available source
The Green Glass Sea is a very interesting idea for a book -- it tells the story of a gradual friendship between two girls who live in Los Alamos -- a place that didn't exist on paper during World War II, because it's where scientists worked on the atomic bomb. Both Suze and Dewey have parents who are working on the "gadget," and both girls are misfits to one degree or another. When they have to live together, they begin to learn to appreciate each other's strengths.
Aside from the friendship, this story is filled with details of the period. While some scenes were, I thought, I bit overly detailed and slow, items and places are still very thoroughly described. This novel also contains positive characterizations of a woman scientist and a girl who is an engineering nerd. At the very least, this has piqued my interest for Los Alamos and what it must have been like to live there as a kid. While the story doesn't go into detail about the ethical issues surrounding the atomic bomb, that is at least alluded to by the end.
Scrounged From: PaperbackSwap.com
Author: Ellen Klages
Content Advisory: A few "minor" swear words, a couple scenes of bullying, and a parental death is described (not graphic)
Number the Stars is a book I know I read in middle school or high school, but since I couldn't remember much about it I decided to read it again, and I'm glad I did -- it's not a long story, but manages to portray a concise and moving picture of a family living in Denmark during the Nazis' "relocation" of the Jews. They may not be part of a resistance movement, but when their friends' lives are in danger, they know they must act to help them. The climax involves ten-year-old Annemarie who is faced with a task of delivering a necessary item to people who are trying to flee.
I was especially interested in the Afterword at the end which confirms that, while the families portrayed in this story are fictional, it is closely based on many events that actually happened (broadly) and inspired by brave people who did actually risk their lives (and some died) to save others. Definitely recommended.
Scrounged From: Our local flea market
Author: Lois Lowry
Content Advisory: Murders of a sister and others are mentioned, and peril and suspense while Jews are smuggled away, people encounter soldiers, etc.
We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler is the story of brother and sister Hans and Sophie Scholl, as well as some of their friends, who were beheaded by the Nazis for leading the White Rose resistance movement which involved sending out leaflets in many places in Germany, especially at the University of Munich where they were students. Though they were brought up in the Hitler youth, they came to see that their government was evil and that they had a responsibility to resist it in whatever ways they could.
I had never heard of this story before hearing of the book, so I'm glad to have discovered it and thought it was timely to read about the actions of citizens who had the courage to resist what they knew was wrong, knowing what it could cost them. The Scholls gave their lives for something that they had decided was more important than they were, and by the time the war was ending, their leaflets continued to be distributed far and wide -- their actions have truly outlived them and that is a powerful legacy to leave.
This book is geared toward middle school/high school ages, and so is not a long read but includes plenty of detail, not only about the primary events, but also the timeline and context of World War 2. There are also many photos, though mostly of the period in general rather than of the Scholls themselves. One of my favorite photos was of a memorial to the White Rose Resistance Movement in Germany which is built to look like a bunch of leaflets spread out on the ground.
Scrounged From: Our local library
Author: Russell Freedman
Content Advisory: Since this is a war story, it references acts of war, and also describes the beheading at the end, though not in gratuitous detail.