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.
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Reviewer: Virginia Morgan, Secondary Teacher-Librarian, International School of Tianjin
Book: Shadow on the Mountain by Margi Preus
Category: Mature Readers (Grades 9-12)
Virginia writes: Set in the 1940s, this exciting piece of historical fiction is told from the point of view of 14-year-old Aspen, a Norwegian boy living in a mountain village that has just been invaded by the German army. While his best friend joins the German youth soldier group, Aspen chooses to become a spy for his country and uses his youth to fool the Nazis. He innocently slides through checkpoints while carrying valuable enemy information. His adventures lead up to a harrowing cross-country ski trip. Pursued by rifle-bearing Germans, Aspen has to ski over the border to survive. Does he live? Read The Shadow on the Mountain and find out!
Overview: Shadow on the Mountain recounts the adventures of a 14-year-old Norwegian boy named Espen during World War II. After Nazi Germany invades and occupies Norway, Espen and his friends are swept up in the Norwegian resistance movement. Espen gets his start by delivering illegal newspapers, then graduates to the role of courier and finally becomes a spy, dodging the Gestapo along the way. During five years under the Nazi regime, he gains –and loses– friends, falls in love, and makes one small mistake that threatens to catch up with him as he sets out to escape on skis over the mountains to Sweden.
Preus incorporates archival photographs, maps, and other images to tell this story based on the real-life adventures of Norwegian Erling Storrusten, whom Preus interviewed in Norway.
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