The Boys who Challenged Hitler:
Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club
By Phillip Hoose
Ages: 12 - 18
Grade Level: 6 – adult
What a book! I read it a year or two ago and remember it vividly. Set during WWII after the German invasion of Denmark, Knud Pederson, his brother, and a handful of friends are ashamed of Danish government’s cooperation with the Nazis. The Norwegians fought back, and they inspire these middle schoolers. The boys form the Churchill Club, to honor hero Winston Churchill. They start on bikes, changing signs and painting mock swastikas. Their small acts of sabotage irritate the Germans, who don’t suspect kids on bikes. The boys go bigger, finding guns and ammunition, starting fires and explosions. They’re discovered and serve 2 years in jail. Upon release, the boys learn they’ve sparked full-blown resistance. If you love history, or you want to discover how one person can make a difference, this is your book. I was enthralled watching kids do what adults feared. I also found it eerie to discover that Knud lived long enough to share his story and see it headed toward publication. In Phillip’s end notes, he wrote about the push to get Knud’s story. He also gives his primary and secondary sources so you can learn more about the Churchill Club, where middle school boys changed history.