Gavrilo Princip, the Assassin Who Ignited World War I

  • Interest Level: Grade 8 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 6

“I am not a criminal, because I destroyed that which was evil. I think that I’m good.”—Gavrilo Princip, October 23, 1914.

This much we know: On June 28, 1914, a young man stood on a street corner in Sarajevo, aimed a pistol into a stalled car carrying Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, and pulled the trigger. Within a few minutes, the archduke was dead, and Europe would not know peace again for five years. More than 16 million people would die in the fighting that came to be known as World War I.

Little else is known about the young man named Gavrilo Princip. How could a poor student from a tiny Serbian village turn the wheel of history and alter the face of a continent for generations? Henrik Rehr’s dark and riveting graphic novel fills the gaps in the historical record and imagines in insightful detail the events that led a boy from Obljaj to become one of history’s most significant terrorist.

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Interest Level Grade 8 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 6
Genre Graphic Novels, Young Adult
Copyright 2015
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Graphic Universe ™
Language English
Number of Pages 232
Publication Date 2015-01-01
Reading Counts! Level 4.4
Text Type Fiction
BISACS YAF010000, YAF024060, YAF005000
Dewey 741.5'944
Graphics 1-color illustrations
Dimensions 7.6875 x 10.4375
Lexile 610
ATOS Reading Level 4.9
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 171099
Accelerated Reader® Points 2.0
Features Afterword, Author/Illustrator biography, Author/Illustrator note, Awards, Original artwork, Reviewed, and Starred Reviews

Author, Illustrator: Henrik Rehr

Henrik Rehr has been a cartoonist for more than thirty years. He was born in Denmark and lives with his family in New York City.


  • Cybils Finalist, Nominated, 2016
  • Texas Maverick Graphic Novels Reading List, Winner, 2016
  • YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens, Winner, 2016
  • Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year, Winner, 2016


The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“[F]or teen readers who appreciate some intellectual heft in their GNs. Even young adults who skim past the kitchen table and coffeehouse political discussions, however, will be drawn in.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books


“This extremely well-researched, compellingly written, and finely drawn work . . . [is] powerful.”—VOYA


“…[B]rings a wealth of detail to bolster contemporary understanding of the Great War….[T]his would make a good choice for both casual reading for history buffs as well as curriculum support.”―Booklist

Publishers Weekly

“[Rehr] succeeds brilliantly, following Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip’s long journey toward the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand with penetrating sensitivity, without glorifying his deed….[A] work of power and force, one that will stay with readers long after they finish it.”―starred, Publishers Weekly

School Library Journal

“This narrative is not only informative but intriguing and ultimately harrowing….[A]n excellent contribution to World War I history collections.”—School Library Journal