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|My brother's shadow|
Author: Schroder, Monika
In 1918 Berlin, Germany, Moritz, 16, struggles to do what is right on his newspaper job and in his family relationships.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG+
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 147166
Common Core Standards
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Range of Reading & LEvel of Text Complexity
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Craft & Structure
Kirkus Reviews (08/01/11)
School Library Journal (11/01/11)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (11/11)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 10/01/2011 Berlin in 1918, at the end of WWI, is the setting for this moving historical novel told in the present-tense, first-person narrative of Moritz Schmidt, 16, who is not sure which side he is on in the raging national debate. His father died in battle. Now Moritz’s brother, Hans, is in the trenches on the western front and is “honored” to serve the Kaiser. But his mother and older sister are radical socialists who hate the regime and are fighting to end the war and get women the right to vote. Then Hans returns severely wounded and bitter, rabid against the Jews and socialists, whom he blames for Germany’s humiliating defeat. A clear afterword fills in the historical background, and readers will be caught up by the teen’s personal experience in terrible times—tired of his mother’s ranting, tempted to join the local gang in violent looting, in love with a Jewish girl, and heartbroken about his brother. A good choice for sharing across the curriculum, this is a novel readers will want to discuss. - Copyright 2011 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 11/01/2011 As the first World War staggers to a close in 1918, German civilians suffer from food shortages and many look to the cessation of hostilities as a mixed blessing that brings disappointment and uncertainty for the future as well as an undeniable sense of relief. Sixteen-year-old Moritz lives in a divided family. His father died earlier in the war, his older brother, charged up with nationalist fervor, is now a soldier on the Western front, and his mother works in a munitions factory by day and as a Socialist agitator by night. Moritz inherits his brother’s membership in a local gang that scams and outright steals food, and although he’s ashamed of his involvement in petty crime, he’s slow to embrace his mother’s political aspirations for better times in a democratically elected German state. His own hope for the future lies in his nascent efforts as a writer, which already show signs of leading to a career in journalism. When his brother returns, permanently disabled and eager to find a scapegoat on which to blame his perceived failure and misery, the family erupts as their respective values collide. Schröder’s fictional family portrait puts a human face to the political power struggle at the war’s end and illuminates the first rumblings of anti-semitic sentiment that would soon clear a path for Nazi ascent. Though the dialogue is sometimes stiff, the issues are clear and their effects on individuals clearer. Readers who are aware of the aftermath closing in on Moritz and his family will feel a chill looming over his romance with a Jewish neighbor and the illusory nature of the family’s brief respite after the war. EB - Copyright 2011 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 11/01/2011 Gr 7 Up—Moritz, 16, struggles with the political climate and the realities of life in Germany near the end of World War I. He and his family feel the impact of the fighting acutely: Moritz's father died serving his country, and his brother, Hans, is injured in battle. Schröder gracefully weaves in the effects of war throughout the novel without being overbearing. To make up for the absence of his father and Hans, who suffers even more psychologically than he does from his physical injuries, Moritz works at the local newspaper and steals food to supplement rations. Meanwhile, his aunt, mother, and sister, all disillusioned with the Kaiser's government, become active in the socialist movement. Hope comes in the shape of two of Moritz's relationships. His friendship with a Jewish teen, Rebecca, blossoms into an innocent romance, and Herr Goldmann, his newspaper colleague, stokes his passion for writing by giving him assignments for the paper. The author develops Moritz's character through a series of difficult decisions he must make, some pitting him against his own family in a striking manner. The rushed ending foreshadows the anti-Semitic climate that developed in Germany in the years between the two World Wars. An author's note contains further information about the complex political and social environment of the period. Libraries in need of fiction from the World War I era will find this an acceptable choice.—Hilary Writt, Sullivan University, Lexington, KY - Copyright 2011 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.