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Children's Fiction Military & Wars

Camp 30

by (author) Eric Walters

Tundra Book Group
Initial publish date
Oct 2013
Military & Wars, Post-Confederation (1867-), General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2013
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 3 to 7


The thrilling sequel to Camp X, winner of the Silver Birch Award—

Soon the boys are offered the after-school job of delivering the camp's mail, and Canadian agents ask them to keep their eyes and ears open for possible escape plans. For, as the boys are told, it is a matter of loyalty to their homeland that the German prisoners must try to escape, even if it costs them their lives—and the lives of two boys in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Jack and George have barely recovered from their ordeal in Camp X when they are relocated to Bowmanville, Ontario , where their mother has been offered a clerking job in a prisoner of war camp holding the highest ranking German officers.

About the author

Eric Walters is the author of many acclaimed and bestselling novels for children and young adults. His novels have won numerous awards, including the Silver Birch, Blue Heron, Red Maple, Snow Willow, Ruth Schwartz, and Tiny Torgi, and have received honours from the Canadian Library Association Book Awards and UNESCO's international award for Literature in Service of Tolerance.

Eric lives in Mississauga with his wife, Anita, and three children, Christina, Nicholas, and Julia. When not writing or touring across the country speaking to school groups, Eric spends time playing or watching soccer and basketball, or playing the saxophone.

To find out more about Eric and his novels, or to arrange for him to speak at your school, visit his website at

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Excerpt: Camp 30 (by (author) Eric Walters)

Chapter One

august 7, 1942


“great shot, jack!” I exclaimed as the newspaper skittered across the porch and bumped into the front door of the house.

“I'm getting to be as good with my left arm as I am with my right,” Jack said. Good thing, too, because my brother's right arm was encased in plaster to allow his broken wrist to mend.

“You do the next one,” he offered.

“Sure.” I was trying to sound confident even though I wasn't. I pulled a paper out of the bag slung over my shoulder, folded it, cocked my arm and let it fly. The paper flew end over end, slammed into the porch railing and fell back into the bushes.

“You throw like a girl,” Jack said.

“Shut up!” I snapped. I walked across the grass, retrieved the paper and tossed it over the railing and onto the porch.

“Maybe I should call you Georgia instead of George.”

“I'm telling you to shut up!”

“And just what are you gonna do to make me?”

That was a good question. My brother wasn't just older, he was bigger and tougher, too.

“You gonna tell Mommy on me? You gonna tell her that I was mean to her little baby boy—I mean, baby girl?” He laughed at his lame joke and then reached over to tweak my cheek. I knocked his hand away.

“Oh, so you want to fight me, do you?”

He dropped his newspaper bag to the pavement and started bouncing around, fists out like a prizefighter.

“I can take you with one hand tied behind my back!” He put his broken hand behind him. “Does little Georgie think he's a tough guy now 'cause he's just turned twelve? I'm still your big brother and I'll always be your big brother!”

“You'll always be two years older than me but that doesn't mean you'll always be two years bigger than me.”

“Ooh! That sounds like a threat,” Jack replied, and he jabbed me in the shoulder. It hurt but I tried not to react.

“Maybe I should knock you around now before you get so big and tough that I won't be able to.” He laughed and punched me again.

“Stop it now!” I yelled. I was used to this kind of teasing from my brother, but I wasn't really in the mood for it.

“Or what, Georgie?”

“Or this.” I slipped the newspaper bag off my shoulder and let it drop to the ground. “Deliver your own papers.” I turned and walked away.

“Come on, George, I was just goofing around!”

I kept walking.

“Don't be such a baby!”

I didn't even slow down.

“Okay …; you win!”

Now I stopped and turned around. “Win what?” I asked.

“I won't do it again,” he said. I started to walk back. “At least I won't do it again today.”

That was what I'd expected. It was good enough for now. I picked up the bag and slung it back over my shoulder. We walked along again in silence. It was a hot day—a real scorcher—and we were nowhere near done.

“You're awful quiet today,” Jack said.

“Just thinking.”

“That's a first.”

I shot him a dirty look.

“So what were you thinking about?” Jack asked.

“I was thinking about how all of this is pretty strange.”

“Delivering papers is strange?” Jack asked as he tossed another paper up onto a porch. I wished he would hit the bushes every now and again.


“How do you figure that? We're on the same route, same houses, delivering the same paper we always do,” Jack said.

“That's what's so strange,” I replied.

Jack shot me a my-brother-is-an-idiot look.

“Just think. After everything that's gone on over the last few weeks—all those things that nobody would believe even if we could tell them—here we are acting like absolutely nothing happened. It's like it was all just a dream.”

“Maybe for you. I carry around a reminder everywhere I go,” he said, holding up his arm. “And every time I look in a mirror or try to eat anything.”

“How is your jaw?”

“Better, but still not perfect, not by a long shot.”

Jack's jaw had been fractured at the same time his wrist had been broken.

“But think about it,” I continued. “Here we are delivering the Whitby Reporter, the paper that Mr. Krum used to own, and now he's dead, and—”

“He's lucky he is dead or he'd have to deal with me!”

“Or Bill or Little Bill or the other agents at Camp X.”

“Keep your voice down!” Jack cautioned.

I looked around. “There's nobody to hear me. Besides, talking to you is the only thing that reminds me it was real.”

“Then just don't talk about that stinking Krum! He was nothing more than a Nazi, a traitor, a spy!”

Jack took another paper and heaved it onto the porch of the next house. This time it smashed against the door with a thunderous crash. The glass at the top of the door rattled and shook, and for an instant I thought it might shatter.

“You almost put that one through the door,” I said.

“At least I hit the door instead of the railing or the—”

“Young man!” We turned back around. A woman—an old, wrinkled woman who was probably at least seventy—was poking her head out of the door Jack had just hit with the paper.

“Do you realize that you nearly scared me half to death?” she called out.

“Sorry, ma'am,” Jack said. “It sort of got away from me. I'm not so good with my left hand.” He held up his right arm to show her the cast.

“I nearly jumped right out of my skin. It sounded like somebody shooting at my house.”

Jack and I exchanged a look. It had been loud, but nothing like a gunshot. We knew, from right up close, what that sounded like.

“I imagine I should just be grateful to be getting my paper again,” she continued.

After Mr. Krum's death the paper hadn't been published for two weeks. Then, on the front cover of the first new issue, was the story about how he'd died.

“I was so saddened to hear about the publisher's death in that automobile accident,” she said. “Mr. Krum was such a nice man.”

Without looking I sensed my brother stiffening beside me. I knew he wanted to say something—about how Krum had really died, about what sort of man he really was—but he couldn't. He was—we were—sworn to secrecy under the Official Secrets Act.

“Say …; your arm …; Were you one of the boys in the car? I heard that two of Mr. Krum's paper boys were in the car with him when he died.”

“We were both in the car,” I lied. Neither of us had been in the car with Mr. Krum when he'd died, because he hadn't really died in a car crash.

“How awful for the two of you!” she exclaimed. “Thank the good Lord that you both survived.” She paused. “I heard it was mechanical failure, that something went wrong with his steering.”

“That's what we were told,” Jack said.

“I'm sorry for raising my voice like that,” she said. “You boys have been through a lot …; I was just so startled by the sound. My Harold—my son—says I'm as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. It hasn't made it any easier with him serving overseas. He's fighting in Africa.”

“Our dad is there, too,” I said. “He's with the St. Patrick's Regiment.”

“I'm sure you're as proud of him as I am of my Harold. But pride doesn't chase away the worry, does it?”

She was right about that.

“And it doesn't make my nerves any better to hear about all those strange goings-on up at Glenrath,” she continued.

I felt a chill go up my spine.

“Glenrath?” Jack asked, trying to sound innocent and ignorant. “What's that?”

“Your family's not from around these parts, are they?”

“We've only been here a couple of months,” I answered. “We moved down here from our farm so our mother could work at the big D.I.L. munitions plant in Ajax.”

“Lots and lots of newcomers here in Whitby since the war. To us old-timers the Sinclair farm is called Glenrath. It's down by the lake, right by Thornton Road. The Sinclairs pulled up stakes and sold it, must be nearly a year ago now.”

“Don't know it,” Jack said, pretending.

“And you haven't heard about any of the commotion around there?”

We both shook our heads.

“Explosions, planes coming and going, lots of strangers. I heard it was some kind of secret training place for spies, that's what I heard.” She said the last few words so softly that her voice was barely audible.

“That's pretty hard to believe,” Jack said.

“I've heard stories,” she said. “Maybe it's only gossip, but there's often truth in gossip.”

“We haven't heard anything at all,” I said.

“Nothing?” she asked. “Not a thing?”

I shrugged, and Jack shook his head.

She started to chuckle. “Funny, you two are delivering the news but you know a lot less than anybody else in town.”

She'd have been shocked to find out what we really did know—probably a lot more than anybody else in Whitby!

“I guess we're just too busy working to spend time wagging our tongues,” Jack said.

The amused expression on her face was gone now—she looked as though she'd just bitten into something sour.

“We have more papers to deliver. Good morning, ma'am.”

Jack turned and started away. I gave the old woman a wave goodbye and hurried after him.

“Stupid old biddy,” Jack said as I reached his side.

“That was strange.”

Jack shot me another look.

“I mean her wanting to talk about the camp.”

“Other than the weather and the war, what else is there to talk about around here?”

“It reminded me of the way Mr. Krum always tried to pump us for information, that's all.”

Jack burst out laughing. “So you think that the old woman is a German spy too?”

“She could be!” I said defiantly. “You never can tell.”

Jack stopped snickering. “You know, considering all we've been through, I guess maybe you're right.”

“I am?” I asked, shocked that Jack was agreeing with me.

“I've learned the hard way that things aren't always what you think they are.”

“So you think she could be a German spy?”

“She could be Adolf Hitler's mother for all I know.”

It was my turn to laugh.

“More likely she's a spy for our side, though,” Jack went on.

“What do you mean?”

“Maybe she was told to talk to us to see if we'd reveal anything about Camp X, if we'd break the Official Secrets Act.”

“We'd never do that!”

“I know that, but maybe Bill doesn't,” Jack said.

“Bill trusts us,” I argued. Bill was military, in charge of security at Camp X. We'd gotten to know him pretty well after blundering into the camp and landing in a load of trouble.

“It really doesn't matter if he trusts us or not as long as we don't say any—” Jack stopped mid-sentence as a familiar-looking white panel truck slowly passed us, moving up the street. At the intersection it came to a stop, flashing its tail lights, and then turned to the right, disappearing behind a stand of trees.

I turned to Jack. “Is that the same truck?” We'd been seeing it—or one just like it—all over the neighbourhood.

“Maybe, maybe not. Even if it is, it doesn't necessarily mean anything.”

“But did you notice how slowly it was driving when it passed us this time?”

“It was probably looking for a number on one of the houses,” Jack said. “Whitby's a small town. It's probably just a coincidence.”

“Well,” I said, “I'm going to keep my eyes open and just see if—”

We both saw the truck as we turned the corner. It was pulled over, a hundred feet down the road.

“Another coincidence?” I asked.

“One more than I like. Come on, let's go straight ahead up the street.”

“But we have to deliver some papers down that way,” I said, gesturing toward where the truck was parked.

“We'll come back for them at the end of the route.”

I knew it meant a longer walk, but I wasn't going to argue. We started to cross the street. I looked at the truck. It was covered with dust and dirt, and the window was up despite the heat, and—

“Owww!” I howled as Jack punched me in the shoulder. My head spun around. “Why did you do that?”

“Don't look at it,” Jack ordered. “If they are looking at us, we don't want them to see us looking at them.”

“Why not?”

“Figure it out for yourself!” he snapped.

What I figured was that maybe Jack was getting even more paranoid than me. What I knew for sure, though, was that Jack was mostly right—and even when he wasn't right he was still bigger than me. And I didn't want another punch.

We crossed the road and continued up the street. If the truck reappeared now it would be a whole lot more than just a couple of coincidences.

“Third house in on the other side gets a paper,” Jack said.

“Oh, yeah, right.” I dug a paper out of the bag and started across the street. Looking back, I was relieved to see the empty road. No panel truck …; not even a kid on a bike. I trotted up the front walkway, getting close enough to the house to make sure my toss landed on the porch. I threw, and the paper skidded into the door. I started back across the street, looking both ways, and there it was—a white panel truck coming down the road toward us from the direction we were heading.


“I see it. Get over here.”

I scrambled to his side. “Is it the same one?” I asked.

“I can't tell. Maybe.”

The panel truck moved slowly down the street. The sun was reflecting off the windshield and I couldn't see who was driving or if there was anybody in the passenger seat. It slowed down even more and came to a stop right beside us. I slid over so Jack was between it and me. Then the window rolled down and a young woman stuck her head partway out.

“Excuse me!” she called. She had a heavy accent …; but it wasn't German. French, maybe. “Do you boys know where is King Street?”

“That's in the centre of the village,” Jack answered. “Go back down to Highway 2, turn left and you'll find it.”

“What is …; highway?” the woman asked.

“It's a big road,” Jack said, “with lots of cars. And when you get there, go that way,” Jack said, pointing to his left.

“Ah,” the woman said, nodding her head and flashing a big, friendly smile. She was very pretty. “Could you show me on this map?” she asked, holding it up and partway out the window.

“Sure, easy,” Jack said, smiling back. He walked across the road to the driver's-side window. I trailed behind him. I think we were both feeling a little silly about our earlier suspicions.

“It's not hard,” Jack said. He took the map from her hands. “You just take this road right here and then—”

Out of nowhere two men dressed in black raced around the side of the truck. “Both of you, not a word!” one of them warned. The two men pinned us against the side of the vehicle.

“Into the truck!” one of them ordered. I looked down. There was a pistol in his hand!


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