The Whispering Town

The WhisperingTown9781467711951_p0_v1_s260x420The Whispering Town

Jennifer Elvgren, Author

Fabio Santomauro, Illustrator

Kar-Ben Publishing, Historical fiction, 2014

Suitable for ages: 7-11

Themes: Denmark, German Occupation, Jews, Holocaust, World War II

Opening: “There are new friends in the cellar, Anett,” Mama said when I woke up. “Time to take breakfast down to them.”

Book Jacket Synopsis: It is 1943, in Nazi-occupied Denmark. Anett and her parents are hiding a Danish Jewish woman and her son, Carl, in their cellar until a fishing boat can take them across the sound to neutral Sweden. Worried about their safety, Anett thinks of a clever and unusual plan to get them safely to the harbor.

Why I like this book: The Whispering Town is based on a true story. Jennifer Elvgren’s text is simple and will teach children about the Holocaust and the heroes who risked their lives to help. It is a great introduction book to the Holocaust. This is a compelling story about the courage and compassion of a girl, her family and village to defy the Nazis and house and guide Danish Jews to Sweden. The story is narrated by the main character, Anett, who is very mature and learns to keep a very big secret. Anett is courageous and clever. She knows how to sneak extra food from the right people who are helping on the underground. When the Nazis begin knocking on doors, the stakes rise. The Jews must be moved. A problem occurs when it is too dark to sneak the Jews through the town. The villagers like Anett’s idea and “whisper” the Jews to the fishing boats. Fabio Santomauro’s artwork suggests an air of secrecy with his dark and muted tones and black lines. This is an important book to add to a school library as it focuses on the courage of a community.

Resources: Visit Jennifer Elvgren at her website. Kar-Ben Publishing has resources on the Holocaust. It is growing Jewish library for children.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

24 thoughts on “The Whispering Town

  1. Pat, Thanks so much for reviewing this book. Ellen Levine’s book, Darkness Over Denmark: The Danish Resistance and the Rescue of the Jews is also a wonderful resource on this topic.


      • Found it in paperback on Amazon. Is it NF? Was surprised to see for ages 5 and up. My library doesn’t carry it. Have you reviewed the book or ever done an interview with her? It’s nice to know family connections. And, I assume she is the same Elle Levine who wrote “Henry’s Freedom Box,” one of my all time favorite books. She’s written a lot of books. Thanks for telling me!


      • NF? Sorry I’m not familiar with that acronym. Sadly, Ellen passed away. She did write Henry’s Freedom Box. She consulted with my step-sis’s uncle, Leo Golderger, when doing research for Darkness over Denmark. He had also written on the topic. (I don’t think the novel is for 5 and up. That must be an error.)


      • Nonfiction. I ordered the book. The cover is in black and white and it looked like it might be a nonfiction book for children. Perhaps historical fiction. Anyway, I’m intrigued.


    • Robin Newman’s relative was one of the Danish Jew children rescued. Ellen Levine wrote about a book, “Darkness Over Denmark: The Danish Resistance and the Rescue of the Jews.” Her relative was interviewed for the children’s novel. The story is also similar to Lois Lowry’s “Number the Stars.”


  2. This looks a great addition to a school or home library. Denmark is not so often talked about during the war period. Is it a short illustrated novel for younger children?


    • No, it is a picture book. I usually feature MG or YA novels on Mondays. But, occasionally use the day to share a book someone in PPBF has shared 5-6 months ago that I really like and want to share on my blog because of the theme. Very simply written for children. And, it focuses on compassion. A good intro to the Holocaust for children.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s