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list price: $14.99
edition:Hardcover
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published: Feb 2012
ISBN:9780545990660

I Am Canada: Behind Enemy Lines

World War II, Sam Frederiksen, Nazi-Occupied Europe, 1944

by Carol Matas

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5 of 5
1 rating
rated!
rated!
list price: $14.99
edition:Hardcover
also available: eBook
published: Feb 2012
ISBN:9780545990660
Description

A young WWII gunner from the Prairies sees the horrors of war firsthand when he is captured by the Gestapo.

Eighteen-year-old Sam Frederiksen has come a long way from the Prairies. Trained to be a gunner in a Lancaster bomber during WWII, he is shot down over France. Battered and bruised, he does survive, and joins forces with the French Resistance... only to be betrayed by one of its members. He and other flyers from various Allied countries are rounded up by the Gestapo and held in Fresnes prison just outside of Paris.

Treated as spies, rather than POWs, these men are beaten, some tortured — then sent to Buchenwald Concentration Camp in eastern Germany. It is here, in these wretched conditions, that Sam witnesses the darkest side of humanity — gas chambers, torture and starvation. Yet it is also here that he comes to understand the true resilience and unfathomable courage of the victims.

Author Carol Matas has won numerous awards for her previous novels about the Holocaust. Behind Enemy Lines is partially based on a true incident from WWII, in which 168 Allied airmen were captured and sent to Buchenwald. Twenty-six of these men were Canadian.

About the Author

Carol Matas

Carol is the award-winning author of many historical novels for young people, including Greater than Angels,
The Garden, After the War, Lisa, Daniel's Story, and Rebecca. She has earned many awards, including the Jewish Book Award (twice) and the Geoffrey Bilson Award, and has received two nominations for the Governor General's Award. Carol has also written acclaimed contemporary, science fiction and fantasy novels. She lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Author profile page >
Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
Age:
9 to 12
Grade:
4 to 7
Awards
  • Short-listed, Snow Willow Award (Saskatchewan Young Readers' Choice)
  • Short-listed, Rocky Mountain Book Award (Alberta Children's Choice)
  • Short-listed, OLA Golden Oak Award
  • Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre
Editorial Review

Praise for I Am Canada: Behind Enemy Lines

"What starts as a rip-roaring adventure soon becomes a sobering account of strength in the face of adversity...the subject matter is difficult but ultimately uplifting." —The Montreal Gazette

"The narrative voice is potent and realistic, and Carol Matas does a marvelous job...Behind Enemy Lines is a fantastic account of one Canadian's struggles through World War II in occupied France." —CM Magazine

"The action is relentless and the reader will be turning the pages feverishly to see what happens next... There is no telling here, only masterful revealing through fascinating characters and lively dialogue." —Resource Links

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Reader Reviews

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Behind Enemy Lines: World War II (I Am Canada)

In the heat of battle, 18-year-old Sam Frederiksen, a trained gunner from the Prairies, is shot down over France. Trapped behind enemy lines, Sam must negotiate his way through unfamiliar surroundings in order to survive.

His circumstances begin to change for the better when a young boy finds him in the woods. Sam makes the decision to trust this boy and is rewarded by being led to the Allied forces that comprise the Resistance. Here Sam works tirelessly alongside his comrades to sabotage the enemy’s supply lines until one day a traitor leads him into Nazi hands.

Sam finds himself not at a camp for prisoners of war but at a concentration camp called Buchenwald. There he is forced to witness unspeakable horrors that make him question his own humanity. In Buchenwald, Sam quickly realizes that survival is not only a physical struggle but also a mental one.

Behind Enemy Lines: World War II is the fifth instalment in the I Am Canada series from Scholastic Canada. Drawing on the true story of the 142 airmen, 26 of them Canadians, who were sent to Buchenwald in 1944, Carol Matas approaches the subject matter with tremendous honesty and respect. She depicts the reality of war in all its brutality by stepping into its darkest crevices. The picture Matas paints of Sam’s emotional turmoil forces the reader to take pause. When he questions his own morality, Sam is no longer a character in a book but becomes a citizen of the human race. In the end, Matas gives a vivid picture of a little-known piece of Canada’s history and leaves the reader with the powerful thought that others can only break your spirit if you allow them to.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Summer 2012. Volume 35 No. 3.

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Behind Enemy Lines (I Am Canada)

When his brother is shot down over France, Sam is trapped behind enemy lines. He must get back to England to fly more missions but until he can, he works with the Resistance to sabotage Nazi supply lines. But this puts him in even more danger. If he’s caught, he may be executed as a spy.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Spring, 2012.

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