Sophie Masson. War and Resistance (Australia’s Second World War, #1), Scholastic Australia, March 2019, 240 pp., RRP $16.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781742769219
War and Resistance provides insights into the lives of families during the occupation of France in World War Two. The story is told from the point of two children: Sasha, who helps in the Resistance, and Dieter, who is a member of Hitler Youth, both of whom end up living in the same town in France.
I found it very interesting, as my reading about the experiences of family life in World War II were largely set in England or about the experiences of Jewish children who were ‘in hiding.’ and therefore not going out to see what was happening around them.
Through the character of Dieter, I learnt that Nazis replaced Father Christmas with the god Odin and people decorated their trees with baubles with swastikas.
Through the character of Sasha, I learnt about the subtle work of the Resistance: the painting over of signs: children, rather than adults passing on messages as they were less likely to be observed and ‘making friends’ with Germans to spy on them. They were small actions but, no doubt, invaluable and terrifying.
In her historical note at the back of the book, Masson explains that although the characters in War and Resistance are fictional, some of the background details in France are based on real life. Her parents were both children during the Occupation: her father, who was seven, was living in Toulouse and her mother, who was nine, was living in Biarritz.
War and Resistance is suitable for children aged nine to twelve.
Reviewed by Katy Gerner