It is 1942 when the Nazis occupy Norway. Marit is only twelve, and she and her younger brother, Lars, are sent to live with their grandfather and aunt because Marit’s parents are part of the resistance fighting back. Marit adjusts to her new town and even makes some friends. Of course, it's a little strange at first to have her aunt for a teacher, but at school she gets to see her aunt in a whole new light. Nazi soldiers are all around the town and they have taken sheets, blankets, food, radios, and other important items from the Norwegians. They have even forbidden people from having or wearing the bunad, the traditional outfit worn for special occasions, but Marit is thrilled when she finds out her aunt is sewing her one in secret. It seems the Norwegians are sticking together and will not give in to the Nazis. Which is why Marit is feeling so annoyed by her grandfather, who seems to give in to each request made by the Nazis. It is driving Marit crazy to see him give up so easily, and she is even more upset when the Nazis come and take her aunt from school. No one knows where they have taken her or if she is still alive. When Marit and Lars are out in their row boat they stumble upon an injured resistance soldier. Marit hatches a dangerous plan to get him to safety, even though she must hide him from the Nazis and her grandfather. When the soldier gives her a secret code and begs her to deliver it right away, Marit has a tough decision to make. Should she deliver the message even though she has no idea what it means? What will happen if the Nazis or her grandfather catch her breaking the rules? Is the code worth the risk? Will Marit ever see her aunt or her parents again? You will be captivated from the start and will want to read until you turn the last page so you can find out how everything turns out. I couldn’t put it down!
The Klipfish Code by Mary Casanova is a fabulous book about a brave girl and dangerous times. Marit has a lot of spunk, and she has strong beliefs. I really felt as if I knew her, and I was biting my nails as the adventure unfolded. It was interesting to see how Marit changed during the war. This is an excellent book for kids in fourth through eighth grade. Older readers will enjoy it as well! Be prepared to have history unfold for you as you read about Marit’s experience. I learned a lot about what life was like in Norway during the war and I loved discovering the Norwegian words sprinkled throughout the book (there is a glossary in the back). At the end of the book the author includes notes about her research and I liked reading them because it helped me to see what parts of the story were based on facts (almost all of it). This book touched me and made me think about the hard life people had during WWII, and I am still thinking about the characters even though I am finished with the book. I look forward to reading more books by Mary Casanova! This is one of the best books I have read about life during WWII, and you won’t regret following along with Marit as she tries to navigate through her new life.
Has anyone else read The Klipfish Code? Or have you read another book by Mary Casanova? We would love to hear your thoughts!
Happy Reading! ~L