Germany

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The Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow

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Sydney Taylor Award-winning novel Berlin Boxing Club is loosely inspired by the true story of boxer Max Schmeling's experiences following Kristallnacht.

Karl Stern has never thought of himself as a Jew. But the bullies at his school in Nazi-era Berlin, don't care that Karl has never been in a synagogue or that his family doesn't practice religion. Demoralized by attacks on a heritage he doesn't accept as his own, Karl longs to prove his worth.

So when Max Schmeling, champion boxer and German national hero, makes a deal with Karl's father to give Karl boxing lessons, A skilled cartoonist, Karl has never had an interest in boxing, but now it seems like the perfect chance to reinvent himself.

But when Nazi violence against Jews escalates, Karl must take on a new role: protector of his family. And as Max's fame forces him to associate with Hitler and other Nazi elites, Karl begins to wonder where his hero's sympathies truly lie. Can Karl balance his dream of boxing greatness with his obligation to keep his family out of harm's way?

Includes an author's note and sources page detailing the factual inspirations behind the novel.


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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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t’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.


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The Dark Room by Rachel Seiffert

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The Dark Room tells the stories of three ordinary Germans: Helmut, a young photographer in Berlin in the 1930s who uses his craft to express his patriotic fervour; Lore, a twelve-year-old girl who in 1945 guides her young siblings across a devastated Germany after her Nazi parents are seized by the Allies; and, fifty years later, Micha, a young teacher obsessed with what his loving grandfather did in the war, struggling to deal with the past of his family and his country. 


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Going Over by Beth Kephart 

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In the early 1980s Ada and Stefan are young, would-be lovers living on opposite sides of the Berlin Wall--Ada lives with her mother and grandmother and paints graffiti on the Wall, and Stefan lives with his grandmother in the East and dreams of escaping to the West


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Halinka by Mirjam Pressler

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You should never hope for a miracle, for then you might count on it really happening.

In the two years Halinka has spent in a home for girls, she has learned not to hope for anything, and to hold tightly to what she has. But all Halinka has is herself, a blanket from her beloved Aunt Lou, and a secret notebook where she holds her sayings. 

Just as she is losing hope of ever finding a home, and forgetting all she once loved, Halinka sees something that reminds her that everyone needs some beauty in their lives, like they need air, or food . . . and maybe a friend. But for that, Halinka would have to share her thoughts, secrets, and maybe even her memories. And she's not sure if she can afford to lose that much.


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Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle

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A rich and engrossing thread of Romance runs through this tale of the motherless son of a valiant robber baron of Medieval Germany. Young Otto, born into a warring household in an age when lawless chiefs were constantly fighting each other or despoiling the caravans of the merchant burghers, is raised in a monastery only to return to his family's domain and become painfully involved in the blood feud between his father and the rival house of Trutz-Drachen.
The narrative is told with Howard Pyle's consummate skill and illustrated with some of the most enchanting sketches ever done for a book of this type. Like the same author's version of The Story of King Arthur and His Knights and his collection of original stories known as The Wonder Clock, this book has become a legend, a modern story with the feel and sound of an ancient tale. It is a reading adventure that youngsters will not soon forget. 


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The Sound of Munich by Suzanne Nelson 

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Siena Bernstein is leaving her yoga mat behind for a semester of study abroad in Munich. She’s thrilled with the prospect of a German adventure (her horoscope is encouraging as well), but she hopes to make more than just her dreams come true while she’s there. Siena’s dad, who passed away when she was a baby, kept a "Carpe Diem" list—sort of his top-ten adventurous things to do. He completed all but one of the tasks—going to Germany to thank the man who helped smuggle his family past the Berlin Wall. Amidst her adventures in biergartens, Alpine skiing, and a rigorous course load, Siena is on a quest to complete her father’s list. But she’s also set on having the best possible time while she tries. With the help of two new best buds and a handsome RA in her dorm, she’ll surely succeed.


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You Can't See the Elephants by Susan Kreller

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One brave girl takes an extreme step to protect two abused children.

When thirteen-year-old Mascha is sent to her grandparents' for the summer, she spends her days bored and lonely at a nearby playground. There she meets Julia and Max, two young siblings who are incredibly shy and withdrawn. Mascha soon begins to suspect that they are being physically abused by their father, a prominent member of their small community. She tells her grandparents and the authorities, but they all refuse to believe her.

Mascha can’t let the abuse go on, so she takes matters into her own hands. Already an international award winner, this beautifully written novel is a haunting and timely tale. 


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Second Fiddle by Rosanne Parry

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The author of Heart of a Shepherd offers another sensitive portrayal of military families, this time stationed abroad, in the city of Berlin at that historic time just after the Wall came down.

When 13-year-old Jody and her friends save a badly beaten Russian soldier from drowning, they put into motion a chain of events that will take them from Berlin to Paris and straight into danger. Jody must quickly learn to trust herself, because in the time directly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the border between friend and enemy is not as clear as it once was.

Award-winning author of Heart of a Shepherd Rosanne Parry offers a fast-paced, coming-of-age story filled with adventure, music, friendship, and intrigue.


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Tinder by Sally Gardner

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Otto Hundebiss is tired of war, but when he defies Death he walks a dangerous path. A half beast half man gives him shoes and dice which will lead him deep into a web of dark magic and mystery. He meets the beautiful Safire - pure of heart and spirit, the scheming Mistress Jabber and the terrifying Lady of the Nail. He learns the powers of the tinderbox and the wolves whose master he becomes. But will all the riches in the world bring him the thing he most desires?

Fairy tales are often the cruelest stories of all; in this exquisite novel Sally Gardner writes about great love and great loss.