The Boy Who Dared


Bartoletti, Susan Campbell; Scholastic Press, 2008


Grade Level: 6 – 8


ISBN & cost: 978-0-439-68-13-4 $16.99


©2008, used by permission of publisher.



In October 1942, seventeen-year-old Helmuth Hubener, imprisoned for distributing anti-Nazi leaflets, recalls his past life and how he came to dedicate himself to bring the truth about Hitler and the war to the German people. 


General Review: 

In this fictionalized biography, Hubener's life is recalled as he awaits trial in a jail cell. He remembers growing up during Hitler's rise to power, and how his view of the regime changes from childish adoration to youthful resistance. The questions he poses to himself bring him to actions that prove his courage. 


Courage -- Juvenile fiction. ; Anti-Nazi movement -- Juvenile fiction. ; World War, 1939-1945 -- Underground movements -- Juvenile fiction. ; Hübener, Helmuth, 1925-1942 -- Juvenile fiction. ; Germany -- History -- 1933-1945 -- Juvenile fiction. ; Censorship -- Juvenile fiction


Author Information: 

Author's website: 

Something about the Author , volume(s) 88, 129, 135, 173


Kansas State Library website and find author information Contemporary Authors Online available through Gale Resources, Literature Resource Center

Discussion Questions: (Standard 3, Benchmark 3)

•  How does membership in the Jungvolk, the Hitler Youth group, compare to membership in a gang in present-day America?

•  On page 26, Helmuth expresses shock that a Mormon would not “respect their country and it's leaders, even if one disagrees with them.” How does one reconcile differences between personal beliefs and government mandates

•  Is it OK to do something as long as you don't get caught?

•  Has there ever been a time you have wished for courage to speak the truth as the minority rather than remain silent?



1. Research the life of Helmuth Hübener, the central character in this book. He was of Mormon religious background, and was disturbed by the mistreatment of Jewish citizens in the early 1940's. Research different religions or faiths discussed in this book , in particular Judaism and Mormonism, to help with understanding of the role of religions in the book. How did the fact that Huebner was a Mormon affect his actions? How are the religious teachings different? How are they the same? Make a Venn diagram displaying the information comparing the two religions. (Standard 3, Benchmarks 4)

2. Research the history of the Nazi movement in the Third Reich. Learn more about German life in the 1930's-1940's. Who were the political leaders of the government, and what were the major teachings of those in power? What methods were used to get kids of your age to buy in to this misinformation? One research path might be through the Kansas State Library, which offers databases available to all Kansans. You can look up “Hitler Youth” on the Kansas State Library website ) by going to Blue Skyways, and “Explore Our Resources,” and then use “Student Research Center” for more information about the movement and resistance to it. Draw a historical timeline of the Nazi movement, beginning in 1933 when Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany, and continuing through 1945. (Standard 3, Benchmark 1) 

3. Check out the following website of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: Research what life was like during the Holocaust as well as pockets of resistance to the treatment of Jews. Have the students share five pieces of information they learned either verbally or in a electronic presentation. (Standard 3; Benchmark 4) 


Similar Books for Further Reading: 

•  Lowry, Los, Number the Stars

•  Bartoletti, Susan Campbell,. Hitler Youth : Growing up in Hitler's shadow

•  Warren, Andre a Surviving Hitler: A Boy in the Nazi Death Camps  

•  Roy, Jennifer, Yellow Star