The Edelweiss Pirates
In Germany in 1938, playing and dancing to jazz music is forbidden.
The Hitler Youth patrol the night streets looking for anyone who breaks the rules. Albert is a member of the Edelweiss Pirates, a secret group of young people who defy the Hitler Youth. They play the forbidden music and work against the Nazis any way they can. Albert’s younger brother, Kurt, loves jazz and longs to be a Pirate, too. Although he’s too young to be an Edelweiss Pirate, Kurt can still find a way to take a stand.
“[A]n inspiring story, enhanced by illustrations that suit it well.”—Chicago Jewish Star
A powerful homage to young activists."—Kirkus Reviews
|Interest Level||Grade 3 - Grade 6|
|Reading Level||Grade 4|
|Publisher||Lerner Publishing Group|
|Imprint||Kar-Ben Publishing ®|
|Number of Pages||32|
“Set in Germany in 1938, this story’s young narrator, Kurt, longs to be an anti-Nazi activist like his older brother, who is a member of the resistance group, the Edelweiss Pirates. Their risky activities include distributing anti-Hitler leaflets, painting over Nazi symbols, and playing prohibited Jazz music. Kurt’s brother insists Kurt is too young to join the group, so privately, Kurt and his Jewish best friend, Fritz, enjoy playing banned Louis Armstrong songs at home together. When Kurt witnesses the abuse Fritz suffers in school for being Jewish, he pulls off his own small, but significant, act of resistance that shows his solidarity to his friend and proves his courageousness to his brother. With warm illustrations in muted tones that wonderfully compliment the sense of the era, this powerful story illuminates a lesser known branch of Nazi dissenters, as well as the difference that one person’s actions can make. An author’s note further explains the historical facts of the Pirates and their efforts to help Jews.”—Association of Jewish Libraries
The Children's War
This book was obtained from the author at BookExpo" - The Children’s War
Jewish Book Council
“Kurt’s older brother, Albert, is a member of the Edelweiss Pirates, a group of young people who are dedicated to resisting Hitler’s edicts. Hitler has outlawed jazz music, so the Edelweiss Pirates play it every chance they get. Kurt, who plays the trumpet, asks if he can join the group; Albert refuses but gives him a Louis Armstrong record, which Kurt and his Jewish classmate, Fritz, listen to so much, they can eventually play by ear. At school, Kurt witnesses Fritz’s growing degradations. Finally, at the band concert, Kurt is instructed to play a piece by Wagner, Hitler’s favorite composer. Instead, he breaks out with a riff on Armstrong’s ‘Saint Louis Blues.’ After the concert, he receives a note from Albert with his new code name: ‘Blues.’ Kurt is finally a member of the Edelweiss Pirates.
Like Elvgren’s The Whispering Town (2014), this Jewish story is told from the perspective of non-Jews. The author uses music to demonstrate the increasing loss of freedom suffered during the Holocaust. Her book also weaves a tightly crafted narrative, using first-person point of view and present tense, based on the powerful picture-book formula of threes: Kurt asks to join the Pirates three times, and is shown learning three different subjects at school.
The color palette and style of Stamatiadi’s illustrations effectively evoke the 1930s. Back matter explains the real Edelweiss Pirates, a brave corps of some 5,000 teenagers who defied Nazi Germany and the Hitler Youth.
Recommended for ages 9 to 12.” – Jewish Book Council
Chicago Jewish Star
“Edelweiss Pirates by JENNI-FER EINGREN, illustrated by DANIELA STAMATIADI, for ages 8 to 12. Kurt and his older brother Albert, who are not Jewish, live in Nazi Germany. Albert resists the Nazis through a group known as the Edelweiss Pirates (an actual resistance group), which Kurt, to his dismay, is too young to join. Both boys are musicians, and both enjoy forbidden music, namely, jazz, which they play and listen to any time they can. Kurt’s best friend is Fritz, who is Jewish. When the boys can get together, they, too, like to play jazz, Kurt on his trumpet, Fritz on his saxophone. In school, Kurt is ashamed of himself for not standing up in class for Fritz. Then, at a school band concert, Kurt finds a way to resist and to stand up to the Nazis. It’s an inspiring story, enhanced by illustrations that suit it well.” – Chicago Jewish Star
Author: Jennifer Elvgren
Jennifer Elvgren, award-winning author of The Whispering Town and Josias, Hold the Book, is a former print journalist who finds her story ideas in real life. She lives in Albemarle County, Virginia. With her husband, three children Caspian the border collie, Copperfield the foxhound, and Goodnight Moon the American quarter horse.
Illustrator: Daniela Stamatiadi
Daniela Stamatiadi is a graduate of the Athens School of Fine Arts and the illustrator of more than 100 books. In addition to teaching visual arts in private colleges, she also paints and illustrates. She lives in Athens, Greece.