Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Historical Fiction
Rose Under Fire

Rose Under Fire

Fall 2013 Historical Fiction
Ages: 12 & Up
Author: Elizabeth E. Wein
ISBN: 978-1-423-18309-9
Hardcover Price: $17.99

Rose's father is a flight instructor in Pennsylvania. He taught her to fly when she was twelve. At eighteen, in 1944, Rose finds herself to be a pilot with many years of experience flying many types of airplanes. Through the help of her Uncle Roger, a Royal Engineer, who cut through many layers of red tape, Rose is a pilot for the Air Transport Auxiliary, delivering planes all over southern England and beyond. Germany is slowing retreating as the allies gradually free France and Belgium. Finally, Rose is allowed to ferry Uncle Roger and some other passengers to France, immensely enjoying flying over Paris on VE Day.

After being given a Spitfire to ferry back to England, Rose sees a flying bomb from Germany and successfully chases it down to deflect it, deflecting herself in the process. Now no one, including Rose, knows where she is, and she is overtaken by two German jets, called "Swallows," and forced to fly and land in Germany where she is incarcerated in the notorious women's concentration camp Ravensbrück.

The telling of her appalling experiences in Ravensbrück between September of 1944 and April of 1945 are given a little distance through the literary device of flashbacks. This lets the reader know that Rose has reached safety in Paris, even though she arrives practically destroyed physically and mentally. Other books for young people have circled around the edges of hell, but Wein takes her readers right into its depths. The monstrosity that is the functioning concentration camp, complete with the women subjected to medical experiments known as "Rabbits," is depicted, yet friendship love, stories and poetry also function there. Wein has written a spellbinding, powerfully important book. Due to her ardent audience, many young people will read about an important part of history that should never be forgotten—or repeated.

Kemie Nix   ©2013 Parents' Choice
Kemie Nix is Chairman of Children's Literature for Children (CLC), a non-profit, tax-exempt, educational organization dedicated to bringing children and books together. Mrs. Nix, a senior book editor for Parents' Choice, has a remarkable sense of selecting books children love to read.

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