by Margi Preus
This wonderful story was inspired by the real-life adventures of a Norwegian WW II spy, Erling Storrusten, whom the award-winning author Preus interviewed.
In the retelling, Preus gives us the story of a 14-year-old Norwegian boy named Espen. After Nazi Germany invades and occupies Norway, Espen and his friends are swept up in the resistance movement. Espen gets his start delivering illegal newspapers, graduates to the role of courier, and finally becomes a spy, dodging the Gestapo along the way. During five years under the Nazi regime, he gains—and loses—friends, falls in love, and makes one small mistake that threatens to catch up with him as he sets out to escape on skis over the mountains to Sweden.
Preus incorporates archival photographs and other images, maps, and an informative epilogue and Author’s Note. She also recommends four other WW II Scandinavian-related books for young readers. Rural Route Bookstore offers all four of these on this same section. Ages 10 to 14, Lexile 730L.