“The Whispering Town” By Jennifer Elvgren, Illustrated By Fabio Santomauro

The dramatic story of neighbors in a small Danish fishing village who, during the Holocaust, shelter a Jewish family waiting to be ferried to safety in Sweden. It is 1943 in Nazi-occupied Denmark. Anett and her parents are hiding a Jewish woman and her son, Carl, in their cellar until a fishing boat can take them across the sound to neutral Sweden. The soldiers patrolling their street are growing superstitious, so Carl and his mama must make their way to the harbor despite a cloudy sky with no moon to guide them. Worried about their safety, Anett devises a clever and unusual plan for their safe passage to the harbor. Based on a true story. Ages 7–11.

 

 

About The Author

Jennifer grew up in Pittsburgh, Pa. She studied English in college and journalism in graduate school. She became a reporter when she graduated and wrote for newspapers and magazines. When her first child was born, she wanted to stay home and start writing children’s fiction. Her first story, Aislinn’s Caper was published by Highlights for Children. Other stories appeared in Ladybug and Spider magazines. Her first book was Josias, Hold the Book. Today, she lives in the Virginia countryside with her husband and three children.

 

Read Aloud Tips

  • Use this book in a larger unit about the Holocaust and World War II. Set the setting by describing the lives of Jewish families during that time.
  • Throughout the read-aloud, ask students to predict what would happen next.
  • Have the students imagine that they were in Anett’s place; what would they do? How would they react? Do the same for Carl. This is a good exercise to utilize small groups.

“The direct simplicity of the story s telling serves well as an introduction for younger children to the Holocaust. Dark cartoon sketches reminiscent of Tomi Ungerer in opaque black, blues, grays and khaki green markers and word bubbles with the key words of direction paint the ominous atmosphere. This uncomplicated narrative of Danish resistance will facilitate teaching and discussion of a difficult yet necessary subject.” – Kirkus Reviews

 

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