The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club (Bccb Blue Ribbon Nonfiction Book Award (Awards))

Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 6 - 8Grades 5 - 10Z+7.142201

At the outset of World War II, Denmark did not resist German occupation. Deeply ashamed of his nation's leaders, fifteen-year-old Knud Pedersen resolved with his brother and a handful of schoolmates to take action against the Nazis if the adults would not. Naming their secret club after the fiery British leader, the young patriots in the Churchill Club committed countless acts of sabotage, infuriating the Germans, who eventually had the boys tracked down and arrested. But their efforts were not in vain: the boys' exploits and eventual imprisonment helped spark a full-blown Danish resistance. Interweaving his own narrative with the recollections of Knud himself, here is Phillip Hoose's inspiring story of these young war heroes.

This thoroughly-researched and documented book can be worked into multiple aspects of the common core curriculum.

Paperback, 208 pages
Expected to be published on January 1, 2019 by Square Fish
ISBN-10: 1250104238
ISBN-13: 9781250104236
13 Book Reviews
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  • loperTuesday, November 28, 2017 at 8:48 am
    nice
    • Diana DMonday, November 27, 2017 at 11:16 pm
      The novel “The Boys Who challenged Hitler” is narrated by Philip Hoose. This book is the courageous yet catastrophic tale of a group of boys going on an adventure to fight for their country that was invaded by the Germans. On this crazy roller coaster, you will meet new characters, mysterious objects, new places where sadness, stress and anxiety will eat the boys up. This story happens during World War II which took place in 1939-1945. There are two main characters: Knud Pedersen and Jens Pedersen. These two brothers were the founders of the Churchill Club which was a gang of reliable companions in attempt to fight the Nazis. They would sabotage Hitler’s army trying to stop them , in hope that the British would come and free Denmark. I would recommend this book to other readers because while pursuing the book, a considerable measure of the characters felt genuine, so did the places where the young men were. The narrator included fabulous portrayal and it felt like I was there with the boys while they were taking every step though this heroic tale. I believe that each age gathering would discover this book both touching and pleasant, however maybe younger readers (13-16 years) would relate more to the characters and their feelings and also how they respond to the situations they experience. My favourite part of this novel would be the sabotage scenes because it was very exciting and tense. While reading the novel , I was always wondering if they would get caught because they were disobeying the law. I would love to speak more about these scenes, but then I wouldn’t give you the chance to discover these tense and heart stopping moments yourself. The Boys Who challenged Hitler was a magnificent and enthusiastic tale that not just taught me what it is for youngsters to be caught in the middle of war but also allowed me to live this incredible part of history. Hope this review was helpful. I would give it a 4 out of 5.
      • Josephine TMonday, November 27, 2017 at 4:13 am
        The boys who challenged hitler is a sad yet inspiring novel based on a true story, it recounts the danger that the brave danish boys faced for the freedom of their country. Narrated by Phillip Hoose on account of Knud Pedersen breathtaking story, the boys who challenged hitler is an excellent tale that highlights the danger of war. Knud Pedersen led a peaceful life until the Nazis took over Denmark, Knud, his brother Jens and his angry friends, frustrated by the easy surrender of their country to the Germans, pursue to commit acts of sabotage and resilience. Named after a famous British leader, the Churchill club became more and more dangerous to the German authority. What made the book interesting and engaging was the fact that the boys had real life problems that we can relate to, as well as the Nazi occupation, for example: schools exams and not being late for dinner… etc. My favourite character was Eigil Astrup-Frederiksen as he was Jewish and it showed great courage to put his and his family’s life on the line. He took part in dangerous missions of sabotage with great caution. I could not have done the same if I was him. Also, the fact that Phillip Hoose retold the story from Knud’s point of view made me feel present in the story and helped me feel Knud’s emotions, this style of writing kept me turning the page. Furthermore, I would have liked it if his friends lead a better life at the end of the book but then again it is what really happened so I suppose Phillip Hoose wanted to keep the reality present. I would recommend this book for teenagers and above as it might be a little too realistic for younger readers. Those interested in war history should find it captivating and I would definitely recommend it to them. It underlines the history as well as focusing on the boys perilous life. I would rate it a 4.5 out of five since I really disapproved of the ending but otherwise a fantastic book written by a fantastic author.
        • The_IdMonday, November 27, 2017 at 2:59 am
          It’s Odense, Denmark in 1940. Denmark has just been invaded by nazi Germany. Knud Pedersen, his brother Jens and cousin Hans Jørgen decide to create a resistance group. They decide to name it the RAF Club. My favourite character is of course the hero, Knud since the author writes about what Knud's thoughts were during each situation since this book was in collaboration with him. It clearly details everything in Knud’s remarkable journey. This books gives great insight on this remarkable story. Knud really shows how he did not like the brutal Germans and wanted them gone. This book is the only book to ever make me feel emotional and it made me feel sad during the sad moments and happy at the end when Denmark were eventually liberated. I thoroughly recommend this book for all readers, especially tweens since they are mature enough to understand the story properly but learn about WWII in a story-like form. Phillip Hoose is a great writer and took on a big challenge and portrayed this non-fiction story very well.
          • vladimir909
            vladimir909Sunday, November 26, 2017 at 2:21 pm44 stars
            The story is about a two brothers(Knud Pedersen and his brother). In there spare time they resist against German troops that are invading Denmark. They explode Nazi trucks...To get the Nazies out of there contrie Knud his brother and some of his school friends create two clubs called the RAF Club and the Churchill Club. They hate the Nazies so much that Knud, his brother and his friends even steal guns from Nazi soldiers and burn down storedge houses. I think the book the boys who challenged Hitler is a good book because you can almost all the time feel suspense in the book. The book also describes how it is like in World War Two, in the it there are also funny moments and a lot of stressful moments. The book is a true story about what happened in World War Two! I felt like I was one of the Clubs members because every time they went out to go sabotage I always felt stressed and excited. It is a book for children, and I recommend it for children that have 11 and a half years old and older. I give this book a 4.5 stars because the book expanes how some Danish people felt about the Nazies invading there contrie.
            • Alexia Sunday, November 26, 2017 at 1:31 am
              The boys who challenged Hitler an interesting yet slightly tragic book about a group of boys who use their spare time to sabotage Hitler's army in Denmark. It’s a book about a young boys, Knud, his brother and theirs friends, they spend their everyday life sabotaging what Hitler’s army is doing in Denmark, and trying to stop them. In hopes that the British army will come save them from the evil grip of the Nazis. They start small and then start sabotaging bigger things as the book goes along. This book had many interesting and different characters but I think that my favorite one was, Knud. He is my favorite because he is one of the bravest boys in the book and one of the most adventurous. While I was reading the book, a lot of the characters felt very real, so did the places where the boys were. The author used fantastic description and it almost felt like I was there with the boys, no matter what they were doing. However, descriptions in this book were not overused so it kept me guessing and on the edge of your seat always wanting to read more. My favorite part of the book was easily the sabotage because it was one of the most exciting parts of the book the author didn't give too much information, but just enough. The fact the boys were bending the law was one of the things that really kept me interested. In addition, the sabotage scenes where slightly tense and mysterious, and I think that the author did a fantastic job describing those scenes. This book evokes a lot of emotions and helps people notice how hard it was for them to adjust. While there are many things I like about this book there are a few things here and there that I feel like if they were different the book could be that much better. For example, during their time in prison, most of the boys had the same point of view about how bad it was but one or two had a different idea of what prison was like and it was rather on the positive side but the author didn't talk much about it. In conclusion, I think this book is a great book full of interesting scenes. I do recommend it but not too young readers as some of the scenes may upset them they may not understand. So I would recommend it to teenagers and young adults.
              • ClaireThursday, November 23, 2017 at 11:35 pm
                The Boys Who Challenged Hitler is the heroic yet tragic tale of a few young boys who changed the future of an entire nation. Narrated by Phillip Hoose and sourced from Knud Pederson, the non-fiction story follows the life of a young Knud Pedersen and his adventures with the Churchill Club, from a rebellious adolescent to a distant, upset veteran. Amidst the chaos of the II World War, Knud founds the Churchill Club with his elder brother and a gang of trustworthy friends in an attempt to push back the Nazi rule his government so easily welcomed. Outraged by the adults of Denmark for not taking action against their enemy like many other neighbouring countries, the club’s actions against the foreigners who so eagerly settled in and enforced harsh laws spark the flames of a battle to reclaim their land. I would recommend this book to other readers not only because of the gripping story that seems to pull you in more each page you turn, but because of how it makes you feel for the characters. When Knud is angry at his occupants, you feel angry too, when he’s excited for the next mission, you feel excited and even when he’s throwing a tantrum in his room you understand his petty annoyances. I believe that every age group would find this book both touching and enjoyable, though perhaps younger readers (around 12 to 17) would relate more to the characters and their emotions as well as how they react to the different scenarios they go through. When Knud and his friends begin their campaign of vandalising and sabotage, they all share a mutual elation and fear that teenagers could associate with, especially when they’re feeling unruly or impetuous. Amongst everything I appreciate about this book, there are of course the characters. With already Hoose’s fantastic overview of the Churchill Club and their criminal deeds, Knud’s recollections from when he was a youth provides readers with an charismatic first person point of view of everything, along with greater empathy towards the boys and what they had to go through for their cause. Instead of just reading about the characters’ movements and decisions, you can immerse yourself as if you were a part of the Churchill Club and learn about everyone’s personalities, who’s “bad”, who’s “good”, who’s in the middle. I would speak more about these characters, but then I would almost definitely spoil your chance to discover these characters yourself, cultivate your own opinion, create your own sense of sympathy for them and watch them change, or rather, adapt, in accordance with their surroundings. When Knud and his friends had just begun their patriotic side war and were painting the whole town over with their insignia, I felt like I was there with them, on the lookout for any soldiers who could turn the corner and catch us in the act and even later on, when acts like these seemed like a childish thing of the past to Knud as they began to make bolder moves against the Nazi soldiers, I still felt like I was going through the same hardships as them, wishing for the same things and going through the same mixed emotions. I often found myself reading late into the night without ever realising the minutes flying by. The Boys Who Challenged Hitler was a wonderful, emotional rollercoaster that not only clarified for me what it was like for the normal children caught it the midst of war, but also revealed to me a large, untold, incredible part of history that definitely deserves more respect and recognition. I hope this review has been helpful.
                • ClaireThursday, November 23, 2017 at 12:20 pm
                  The Boys Who Challenged Hitler is the heroic yet tragic tale of a few young boys who changed the future of an entire nation. Narrated by Phillip Hoose and sourced from Knud Pederson, the non-fiction story follows the life of a young Knud Pedersen and his adventures with the Churchill Club, from a rebellious adolescent to a distant, upset veteran. Amidst the chaos of the II World War, Knud founds the Churchill Club with his elder brother and a gang of trustworthy friends in an attempt to push back the Nazi rule his government so easily welcomed. Outraged by the adults of Denmark for not taking action against their enemy like many other neighbouring countries, the club’s actions against the foreigners who so eagerly settled in and enforced harsh laws spark the flames of a battle to reclaim their land. I would recommend this book to other readers not only because of the gripping story that seems to pull you in more each page you turn, but because of how it makes you feel for the characters. When Knud is angry at his occupants, you feel angry too, when he’s excited for the next mission, you feel excited and even when he’s throwing a tantrum in his room you understand his petty annoyances. I believe that every age group would find this book both touching and enjoyable, though perhaps younger readers (around 12 to 17) would relate more to the characters and their emotions as well as how they react to the different scenarios they go through. When Knud and his friends begin their campaign of vandalising and sabotage, they all share a mutual elation and fear that teenagers could associate with, especially when they’re feeling unruly or impetuous. Amongst everything I appreciate about this book, there are of course the characters. With already Hoose’s fantastic overview of the Churchill Club and their criminal deeds, Knud’s recollections from when he was a youth provides readers with an charismatic first person point of view of everything, along with greater empathy towards the boys and what they had to go through for their cause. Instead of just reading about the characters’ movements and decisions, you can immerse yourself as if you were a part of the Churchill Club and learn about everyone’s personalities, who’s “bad”, who’s “good”, who’s in the middle. I would speak more about these characters, but then I would almost definitely spoil your chance to discover these characters yourself, cultivate your own opinion, create your own sense of sympathy for them and watch them change, or rather, adapt, in accordance with their surroundings. When Knud and his friends had just begun their patriotic side war and were painting the whole town over with their insignia, I felt like I was there with them, on the lookout for any soldiers who could turn the corner and catch us in the act and even later on, when acts like these seemed like a childish thing of the past to Knud as they began to make bolder moves against the Nazi soldiers, I still felt like I was going through the same hardships as them, wishing for the same things and going through the same mixed emotions. I often found myself reading late into the night without ever realising the minutes flying by. The Boys Who Challenged Hitler was a wonderful, emotional rollercoaster that not only clarified for me what it was like for the normal children caught it the midst of war, but also revealed to me a large, untold, incredible part of history that definitely deserves more respect and recognition. I hope this review has been helpful. I would rate this at least a 4 out of 5.
                  • cayla4325
                    cayla4325Wednesday, November 22, 2017 at 4:43 am55 stars
                    I agree!! I cried a little too.
                    • purplepumpkin
                      purplepumpkinTuesday, November 21, 2017 at 5:26 am44 stars
                      i really want to read this book

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