by Mary Casanova
This historical fiction novel, set in 1942 when many Norwegians were secretly fighting for their country while it was under Nazi occupation, centers around 12-year-old Marit whose village has been bombed. In this suspense-filled story, Marit is faced with a new harsh world where she watches the Nazis take her blankets, teacher, security, and friends. Their parents send Marit and her brother to live on an island with their grandfather and aunt. Eventually, Aunt Ingeborg is one of the schoolteachers sent away for refusing to use Nazi propaganda in her classes.
Little is spoken about the war, and it is hard to know whom to trust: some Norwegians (like Marit’s parents) work for the Resistance, others work with the Nazis. To further complicate Marit’s life, she is asked to help an injured Norwegian Resistance fighter. How she handles this challenge, whether or not she can keep a code secret, and if her family is reunited, and her aunt safely released is up to the reader to discover.
This is a thrilling adventure story by an accomplished Minnesotan, Mary Casanova, an award-winning author of children’s novels and picture books. She lives on the Minnesota-Canadian border, but writes about places she visits and understands. The Klipfish Code reveals what Norwegian people did to preserve their dignity and freedoms, and teaches about difficult choices, loyalty, discerning the truth, and keeping secrets. It was written during and after Casanova’s onsite research in Norway. The heart of the Norwegians, the brave stance of Norway’s educators, and the spirit of a patriotic young girl blend to make this a truly enjoyable and informative novel. Ages 9 to 13; grades 4 through 7.