Ellen Howard Different Kind of Courage

ISBN 13: 9781416967309

Different Kind of Courage

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9781416967309: Different Kind of Courage

In 1940, the Germans have come to Paris and Bertrand, his mother and sister are fleeing. Meanwhile, the Germans have not come to the south of France, where Zina and her family live--but there's no work for ethnic Russians like Zina's papa. Both Bertrand and Zina must go to America in order to survive. Each shows fear in a different way, but finally, through friendship, finds hope again.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 4-6-Howard's novel describes the experiences of two French children, from the German invasion in June, 1940, through the following December. Bertrand flees Paris with his mother and little sister; the youngsters are left first at a boarding school, then with their grandmother while Maman arranges for them to join their father in America. Zina and her sister have lived at a camp for Franco-Russian children since the outbreak of war in 1939; when the camp runs out of money, they move into their parents' cramped apartment before being sent to America in the same group as Bertrand. The chapters alternate between Bertrand's and Zina's activities and feelings of anxiety and abandonment. Although these worries are real and understandable, Howard spends an inordinate amount of time on them. As a result, both children come across as immature and (Bertrand, especially) wimpy. While the split narrative provides variety and contrast, it limits character development and leaves readers frustrated with each vignette's brevity and the many omissions. Not all the French and Russian terms are defined in context. A Different Kind of Courage gives an interesting and unusual look at World War II and could be useful in school units on the era, but children probably won't be drawn to it on their own.
Ann W. Moore, Guilderland Public Library, NY
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A dry, disappointing story of two children fleeing Nazi-occupied France. After escaping from Paris with his mother just ahad of the German army, Bertrand summers with other children in a school, then is taken to his grandmother's home near the Swiss border. Meanwhile, Zina copes with loneliness and boredom near the Spanish border. The two plot lines converge when Bertrand and Zina become members of a group of refugee children being sent to America. Both feel abandoned by their parents; Zina responds by going mute, Bertrand with a fragile bravado. Throughout, the children's bewilderment and sense of loss are clear, but they cross southern France, Spain, and Portugal largely oblivious to the world through which they travel, and their journey is more monotonous than dangerous. It's also incomplete; Howard (The Tower Room, 1993, etc.) ends the tale by leaving her protagonists on a bus in Lisbon, heading for the ship that will carry them overseas. Zina regains her voice and Bertrand loses his fear, but they never clearly realize just why they've been sent away, and readers expecting them to reach safety will find the conclusion precipitate. (Fiction. 11-13) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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