The Panda Book Awards are a set of children’s literary prizes for international books, co-sponsored by beijingkids and awarded by readers across China. Read all about The Panda Book Awards here, and check out the weekly reviews on beijingkids here.
As co-host, beijingkids is offering an extra 20% discount on those books for our readers. This blog shows you how to use our code to get the discount and make cash-on-delivery purchase from Amazon.cn.
Reviewers: Karen Gockley, elementary school librarian at International School of Beijing
Book: Hero on a Bicycle by Shirley Hughes
Category: Middle Readers (Grades 3-5)
Gockley writes: "Hughes, author of many picture books including Dogger and Tom and Lucy’s Day, has written her first chapter book for upper elementary readers. This book fulfills the need many children have to read about World War II in a suspenseful and age appropriate manner. Set in Florence, Italy, 1944 heralds many changes for the Italians. The Nazis occupy the city, many fathers have left for the war or to a partisan group, leaving worried mothers and bored children.
Paolo, a thirteen-year-old boy with an older sister and their English mother live a quiet life outside Florence. Because of their mother’s nationality and his father’s disappearance to the resistance movement, the family tries to keep a discrete profile but Paolo longs for more excitement and begins sneaking out at night and taking long bike rides. His sister, Constanza, has a friend who parents collaborate with the Nazis and spending much of her time in her room listening to music until one day their mother is visited by a resistance group. This group asks her to take downed American and British pilots and hide them until they can be smuggled out of the country. This is where the danger begins and Paolo and his sister learn what real fear can bring to their family.
Both boys and girls would like this book and the story moves quietly along until, suddenly, the characters are catapulted into dangerous situations requiring quick thinking and spontaneous action."
Overview: In her first novel, beloved author Shirley Hughes presents a World War II adventure proving that in extraordinary circumstances, people are capable of extraordinary things.
Italy, 1944: Florence is occupied by Nazi forces. The Italian resistance movement has not given up hope, though — and neither have thirteen-year- old Paolo and his sister, Costanza. As their mother is pressured into harboring escaping POWs, Paolo and Costanza each find a part to play in opposing the German forces. Both are desperate to fight the occupation, but what can two siblings — with only a bicycle to help them — do against a whole army? Middle-grade fans of history and adventure will be riveted by the action and the vividly evoked tension of World War II.
Publishers overview via Amazon.com