With the rise of the Berlin Wall, twelve-year-old Gerta finds her family suddenly divided. She, her mother, and her brother Fritz live on the eastern side, controlled by the Soviets. Her father and middle brother, who had gone west in search of work, cannot return home. Gerta knows it is dangerous to watch the wall, to think forbidden thoughts of freedom, yet she can't help herself. She sees the East German soldiers with their guns trained on their own citizens; she, her family, her neighbors and friends are prisoners in their own city.
But one day, while on her way to school, Gerta spots her father on a viewing platform on the western side, pantomiming a peculiar dance. Then, when she receives a mysterious drawing, Gerta puts two and two together and concludes that her father wants Gerta and Fritz to tunnel beneath the wall, out of East Berlin. However, if they are caught, the consequences will be deadly. No one can be trusted. Will Gerta and her family find their way to freedom?
"Nielsen, best known for her fantasy novels, proves she is equally skilled at historical fiction in this solidly structured, balanced account of the origins of an infamous historical landmark. Gerta is a sassy, determined heroine with realistic fears and frustrations -- like her longing for a banana....Opening each chapter is an inspirational quote about freedom and bravery juxtaposed with barbed-wire illustrations; the book's final quote ominously warns 'History repeats itself.' The novel's strong setting and tense climax will keep readers engrossed and holding their breath until the last page." --Marybeth Kozikowski, School Library Journal
|9 - 13
|Jennifer A. Nielsen
|Aug 25, 2015