Posted in Children's Lit

Hero on a Bicycle by Shirley Hughes

15798671Hero on a Bicycle
Shirley Hughes
2013 Candlewick Press
ISBN – 9780763660376
Genre – Historical Fiction
Age – Elementary, Middle School
3 Stars


Paolo Crivelli and his family are just trying to survive the Nazi occupation near Florence in 1944. Paolo thinks the war is long and boring, so each night he sneaks out of the house to take a long bike ride. One night he runs into partisans, who are helping to fight against the occupation. They ask his family to harbor a couple of their soldiers. Although this is very dangerous, the family agrees. However, this arrangement puts everyone in the family’s life at risk. Does Paolo and his family have what it takes to be real heroes and survive the war as well ?

I thought this was a decent book. I liked the characters and the balance of strength and weakness in each of them. The story had balance as well. Bad things happened throughout, but good things did also. I didn’t feel like a terrible situation was sugar coated because it is a children’s book, but it also wasn’t horrific and inappropriate. It also had a valuable lesson that heroism isn’t always a grand action, but can be a state of mind, and just plain doing the right thing. I thought it was an interesting viewpoint to look at WWII from, one that is less common than the German, Belgian, American, and British viewpoints. On another note, I am glad that it was a short quick read, because honestly, I didn’t feel any pull to keep reading it.


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