Cover image for Village of scoundrels : based on a true story of courage during WWII
Title:
Village of scoundrels : based on a true story of courage during WWII
ISBN:
9781419708978
Physical Description:
305 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.
Added Author:
Summary:
Based on the true story of the French villagers in WWII who saved thousands of Jews, this novel tells how a group of young teenagers stood up for what is right. Among them is a young Jewish boy who learns to forge documents to save his mother and later goes on to save hundreds of lives with his forgery skills. There is also a girl who overcomes her fear to carry messages for the Resistance. And a boy who smuggles people into Switzerland. But there is always the threat that they will be caught: A policeman is sent to keep an eye on them, German soldiers reside in a local hotel, and eventually the Gestapo arrives, armed with guns and a list of names. As the knot tightens, the young people must race against time to bring their friends to safety.
Holds:

Available:*

Library
Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Copies
Status
Searching...
Book J FICTION PRE 0 1
Searching...
Searching...
Book J FICTION PRE 0 1
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

Newbery Honor recipient Margi Preus tells the incredible true story of a group of French teenagers who helped save refugees in WWII

Based on the true story of the French villagers in WWII who saved thousands of Jews, this novel tells how a group of young teenagers stood up for what is right. Among them is a young Jewish boy who learns to forge documents to save his mother and later goes on to save hundreds of lives with his forgery skills. There is also a girl who overcomes her fear to carry messages for the Resistance. And a boy who smuggles people into Switzerland. But there is always the threat that they will be caught: A policeman is sent to keep an eye on them, German soldiers reside in a local hotel, and eventually the Gestapo arrives, armed with guns and a list of names. As the knot tightens, the young people must race against time to bring their friends to safety.


Author Notes

Margi Preus is the author of West of the Moon, Shadow on the Mountain , and Heart of a Samurai , which was a Newbery Honor book. She also writes for a variety of theater companies. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota.


Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5--8--During World War II, several remote villages in Southern France were home to a community of resistance fighters. Farmers, educators, and clergy all played a part, but this story highlights the daring work of young men and women who forged documents, moved supplies and passed along coded information. For example, one teen created documents that secured his mother's release from an internment camp. One young woman bicycled for miles to deliver messages and contraband. Some used their Boy Scout training in outdoor survival to spirit refugees, sometimes disguised as troop members, to safe houses or through the arduous journey out of France and into Switzerland. This fascinating story is inspired by actual people and events. It highlights an interesting piece of history but is weakened by the narrative structure. It bounces around various plotlines, robbing each one of the tension that starts to build and causing the story to lose momentum. Extensive back matter helps compensate with information about the people, places, and missions that form the novel's basis, as well as a comprehensive bibliography including books, documentaries, and links to museum exhibits. There is also a pronunciation guide to the names of the French characters and locations. VERDICT Overall, this book does a decent job of honoring these young people who stood up and made a difference. An additional historical fiction purchase for libraries serving middle graders.--Carla Riemer, Albany High School, CA


Publisher's Weekly Review

Preus's WWII novel, based on historical accounts, takes place in a remote village in southeastern France where Jewish teenagers rescued from concentration camps are hiding in plain sight. Housed, fed, and educated by the residents, the teens become actively engaged in their secret missions to help other Jews escape--conveying messages, forging papers, smuggling people across the border. Because of its isolation, the plateau village escapes notice as a hotbed of Resistance activity until its students write a letter to Vichy's Minister of Youth declaring their intention to shield the Jews among them. Soon after, a French policeman arrives, followed by convalescing German troops, bringing the villagers' activities under increasing scrutiny. Preus (The Bamboo Sword) weaves the teens' backstories and individual dreams into the mounting dangers each faces and poignantly renders the quietly courageous and supportive community, including a precocious 10-year-old who plays a key role in the dramatic climax. Featuring adolescent wartime activists, this is an inspiring narrative founded on a real-life community and individuals, as explained in the extensive epilogue that tells the detailed histories of the village and the people on whom the characters are based. Ages 10--14. (Feb.)


Horn Book Review

In 1940s Vichy France, a remote mountain-plateau village known for sheltering refugees fleeing Nazi persecution houses a unique and innovative high school that draws students from all over France and beyond. Many of the students secretly work for the resistance, the maquis, which becomes much riskier after the arrival of Inspector Perdant from the national police, there to identify evidence of illegal activities and unregistered Jews, foreigners, communists, and undesirables. Preus (Heart of a Samurai, rev. 9/10; Shadow on the Mountain, rev. 11/12) weaves the experiences of students Philippe (who smuggles refugees over the border into Switzerland), Celeste (who carries messages for the maquis), Jean-Paul (who runs a sophisticated document-forging operation), and others into a tale of danger and bravery, luck and wits, purpose and community, and even occasional humor (some pretty on-point Nazi jokes). Chapters alternate among characters, with Preus always circling back to Perdants constant spying and dogged pursuit of arrests, which amps up the suspense (somewhat undermined, however, by how easily local farm boy Jules outwits him at every turn). An extensive epilogue informs readers about the real people upon whom the novels characters are based; and about concentration camps, the Boy Scouts and their relationship to the maquis, and the actual high school LEcole Nouvelle Cvenole in the village of La Chambon. A bibliography and a pronunciation guide complete the book. Martha V. Parravano March/April 2020 p.88(c) Copyright 2020. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus Review

The inhabitants of a village in the mountains of Vichy France quietly carry out clandestine activities as they rescue and hide Jews.Adults, teens, and even younger children work independently and in carefully constructed networks of established residents and Jewish refugees. "Everyone in this town had secrets." Refugees are hidden on outlying farms. Youngsters attend school and live in boardinghouses. All are given beautifully forged identification papers, many made by Jean-Paul, who has forged several versions of his own papers. Some have joined the Maquis, disguised as Boy Scouts. Cleste conveys secret messages; Philippe leads refugees to safe houses and to the Swiss border while others create diversions that lead authorities astray. Ten-year-old Jules notices and remembers everything. He maintains an odd, provocative relationship with the French policeman Perdant, openly questioning him about the morality of his insistence on following the orders and laws of the Nazi overseers. The knowledge he gains allows him to provide the others with key information, warnings, and time to get to safety. Each character's backstory is woven seamlessly into the action. Preus builds suspense and drama by following these brave souls as they take on dangerous tasks, facing arrest, deportation, and, very likely, death if they are caught by the Nazis. Named as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem, these characters are based on real people from the village of Le Chambon sur Lignon, and Preus tells their afterstories in a well-researched, comprehensive epilogue.Deeply emotional, intense, and thought-provoking. (pronunciation guide, list of characters, photos, documents, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 10-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.