(Review) We Had to Be Brave: Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport by Deborah Hopkinson

Publisher and Publication Date: Scholastic Focus. February 4, 2020.
Genre: Nonfiction. History. World War II. Holocaust.
Pages: 368.
Format: E-book.
Source: Library copy.
Audience: Middle school readers or any age above middle school with an interest in World War II and Holocaust history. At the publisher, the age range is 8-12. I feel the age is closer to 10 to 12.
Rating: Very good.

Several black and white photographs are shown.

The publisher is Scholastic Focus. Their mission is to publish quality middle grade nonfiction books.
Link for the book at Scholastic Focus: We Had to Be Brave.

Recently I read and reviewed a historical fiction book, The Last Train to London. I’ve also watched at least one documentary on Prime Video on this history. It is the history of Kindertransport. Kindertransport was an organized effort to rescue Jewish children during pre-World War II. Most of the children were rescued from 1938-1939.
To read more information about Kindertransport:
Jewish Virtual Library
There are several YouTube videos on the Kindertransport.

We Had to Be Brave begins by sharing a brief bio of Adolf Hitler, and when he and the Nazis came to power. The year is 1933. It was at that time, the persecution of the Jews began escalating. In 1935, the Jews citizenship was taken away. The Nazis also persecuted people of political beliefs contrary to Nazis. They persecuted people with disabilities, the Romany or Gypsy, and LGBTQ.
Most of the children who survived because of the Kindertransport were from Germany and Austria but also Poland and Czechoslovakia.
The story mainly centers on three children who were apart of the Kindertransport.
1. Leslie Brent.
2. Marianne Elsley.
3. Ruth Oppenheimer David.

My Thoughts:
I love several things about this book but was left wanting a bit more. I believe it helps to have personal lives shared in a history book to create an strong effect. The book mainly shares the lives of three children. I feel my response is because of my age, and, because I’ve read a lengthy list of Holocaust and World War II books. I want more illustrations of personal lives.
We Had to Be Brave shares other people who were apart of the movement to try and stop Hitler and Nazi power. These people I’ve read about in other books: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the White Rose students.
I feel We Had to Be Brave is a solid first book for a young student to learn about this period in history.
Additional reasons why I enjoyed reading this book:
1. Other rescue groups involved in helping the Jews are noted in the book.
2. I learned about the network and steps involved in rescuing the children.
3. I learned about the faithful and dedicated work of those involved in the rescue of children.
4. In chapter seven, a story is shared about one particular family’s abuse by the Nazis. It is their story shared that represents so many others.
5. The book encourages young adults to tell trusted adults when they hear anti-Semitism.


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