White Roseby Kip Wilson Published 02 Apr 2019
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A gorgeous and timely novel based on the incredible story of Sophie Scholl, a young German college student who challenged the Nazi regime during World War II as part of The White Rose, a non-violent resistance group.
Disillusioned by the propaganda of Nazi Germany, Sophie Scholl, her brother, and his fellow soldiers formed the White Rose, a group that wrote and distributed anonymous letters criticizing the Nazi regime and calling for action from their fellow German citizens. The following year, Sophie and her brother were arrested for treason and interrogated for information about their collaborators.
"White Rose" Reviews
This was pretty average for me. I thought that combining two things I don't read a lot of (historical fiction and books written in verse) would be a really exciting way to approach the story, but I ultimately just ended up feeling like I didn't get enough time in the story or with the characters to appreciate everything that happened.
Gorgeous. Blurb to come.
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, via Edelweiss+ for an honest review.
Fritz tells me
That I should
What I like,
Which is good
Because I have
If you want to know what true beauty, conviction, bravery and strength looks like….read this book.
White Rose is the rebellion story that begs to be witnessed.
White Rose is the story of how a young German student, Sophie Scholl, became part of an anti-Nazi resistance group that was formed by her brother Hans, Willi Graf and Christoph Probst. Having grown up as members of Hitler Youth and experiencing the brutality of war, the boys craved a Germany that followed rules of justice rather than one of genocide. And so, the White Rose was formed in June of 1942 and was made up of many University of Munich students who protested the mass murders of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. Though the group only lasted until 1943, hundreds of copies of six political resistance leaflets were drafted and distributed across Germany, in the hopes of inspiring German citizens and students to revolt against oppression.
We soon learn there’s been
An enormous wave
Of arrests throughout Germany
Of hundreds of teenagers
Including Hans, on his military base
All of them accused
Of getting together
In youth groups other than
Singing banned songs
Reading banned books
Things we do
The group drafted six leaflets in total and distributed hundreds across Germany until the capture of its members. Due to the lack of paper and stamps that were available, the mailing of leaflets to different members of the White Rose was incredibly dangerous. The number of stamps and envelopes purchased by one person was tightly monitored by the Gestapo, and any suspicion of anti-Nazi propaganda was swiftly dealt with by arrest and biased trials at the People’s Court of Berlin, which usually ended in death by guillotine or imprisonment.
Fritz doesn’t understand
Why this defiance matters
So much to me,
That our strongest weapon
Is our refusal
To follow blindly.
Vati says nothing
But his smile
My father’s approval
When I stand up
For what’s right
Means the world.
The beautiful and daunting telling of the White Rose group is so much more than I imagined it would be. When I requested this title from Edelwiess, I wasn’t even aware that it was a story told in poetry! But after reading it, I can’t imagine it being told in any other way. These poems give these brave young adults a HUGE voice. Their conviction and feelings are screaming through to the reader on every stanza, every page.
The members of this group quickly become a friend you could have known from school, a neighbor, a sibling. They are familiarized to you by their thoughts, and brought in close by their actions and movements. Kip Wilson has woven their story, and their actual letters to one another, into this riveting and gut-pummeling piece of artwork. By the end of the book I was fueled with an anger for what happened to these people, but also left in awe for how brave and fiercely they stood up for their beliefs of a better Germany.
Letter to Fritz: June 1940
People shouldn’t be
About the world around
Them simply because
To open their eyes
Are more than ambivalent-
They are guilty.
How can we expect
In this world
If we’re not prepared to
For what’s right?
My only complaint is that I wanted more time with this book…and more time for these beautiful people who took a stand when so few others in their country would. It is a frightening thought, to stand up against a power and force so strong as the Nazi regime. But it is a truly beautiful notion, to think that these young adults made up their own minds on what they thought was right, and then acted on it until their deaths.
Books like this, that tell the true story of people like Sophie and Hans Scholl, Kurt Huber, Alexander Schmorell, Willi Graf and Christoph Prost, who stood up against tyranny with their lives, is what makes me incredibly happy to be human.
The world will react,
Who are doing
These terrible things.
The ribbon widens,
With a river of hope.
I once loved my country, but now the only thing that shames me is that I'm German.
I'm not a fan of poetry, but I enjoyed how this book depicted the life of a German girl who was brave enough to stand up to the diabolic Hitler. Usually, when people talk about the first or second World War, the Germans, in general, are the antagonists. After all, they murdered countless Jews in their infamous concentration camps. However, gleaning from the text, it's a sad truth that the mentioned latter dictator ruined the lives of his own people. Hence, we should be objective and not hold every German responsible for his unfathomable cruelty.
White Rose was also the name of Sophie's group/organization that aimed to enlighten citizens to the darkness of Hitler's advocacy. With the help of her brother Hans and other courageous young adults, Sophie printed tons of anti-Hitler propaganda and distributed them across the nation. Despite the threat of incarceration and death, Sophie continued to fight for what she believed was right. I initially hoped for a happy ending, but this novel proved that stories about war rarely conclude that way.
For me, the best thing about this book was Sophie and Han's relationship as siblings and co-rebels. When Hans had to use his medical skills to help the German army fight against Russia, Sophie never failed to send him letters and pray for his safety. Moreover, they always saw eye to eye on matters concerning Hitler. Sophie was the one who thought of publishing revolutionary leaflets, but Hans was the one who made her dream a reality. Finally, the siblings hang out all the time since they had the same circle of friends. Sophie and Hans were together until the end, and it was hard to read about their "inevitable" demise. If you're a fan of strong family bonds in YA, this literary debut will not disappoint you.
Ultimately, I gave White Rose 4 stars because of its inspiring and scholarly content. If I lived during Hitler's time, I wouldn't be brave enough to be a martyr like Sophie and Hans. This is the second historical book I've read this year, and I can hardly wait to start another one.
However, until now
I'm not sure
if changing the format
or s p a c i n g
of a standard narrative
Thank you NetGalley, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group, and Kip Wilson for the opportunity to read an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What initially drew me to this book wasn't necessarily the description of the book itself, but the fact that it is written in poetic form. As an Ellen Hopkins fan, I love reading works written in a poetry style. The problem is, some authors nail the craft, and some are just not good. Great news: Kip Wilson's poetic form is gorgeously dazzling, and not a disappointment! The only thing that makes this a 4.5 instead of a 5 is that there are some stylistic choices that can be executed better, and perhaps in the final version they will be altered. For example, when another person (not the narrator) is talking, the lines or stanza is indented and in italics, but so is the dialogue tag. Having the dialogue tag in italics too threw me off a bit. Another thing I thought was super creative was stretching out certain words with spaces, such as "l o n g," and other words of similar meaning, making the word literally longer or stretched on the page. This happens about four or five times, but the stretch is in a line with other words. This would be an even greater effect if the word was isolated and spaced out even more:
"l o n g"
Aside from a few minute things like that, I loved the poetic form of this piece and the language has amazing flow. It was fun and easy to read, all while being an educational journey.
This story takes place during World War II in Germany, during Hitler's reign. One of the aspects I love about this novel is its reflection on actual history. The end of the book has a sort of glossary that highlights who the people actually, historically were, as well as defining some of the German words (I didn't see the glossary until I finished the book, since it's e-book and not print. This wasn't a huge deal for me since I'm familiar with German and was able to figure out some words based on context). This historical accuracy and development for the novel is no surprise, considering Kip Wilson's Ph.D. in German Literature.
The narration features a young girl named Sophie Scholl, an activist in the White Rose group--a non-violent resistance group in Nazi Germany. Although this story is told from the perspective of one living during the events of WWII, I find that, despite there being a number of novels out there that feature this time period, this one is unique in its telling and resonates with events today.
As an English teacher myself, I know a number of educators who would be interested in this book for Literature Circles/Book Club Groups, and it's workable for grades 7-12. This book would also be a nice alignment to read in English class if students are simultaneously studying the Holocaust. Overall, highly recommend to young readers, Holocaust historians, historical fanatics, and educators!
This is a really meaningful book told in verse. It does not have a happy ending, and although I was kind of sad (I usually like books with happy endings), I really couldn’t see the book going any other way for it to still be as meaningful and realistic. I liked how the story was told in verses and I found it more interesting. However, I found that the random changes in perspective were kind of confusing but they were readable. The changes between past and present were good from a storytelling view but I have a personal preference of books told in chronological order. I don’t usually read and like much historical fiction (which is the main reason why I didn’t give this book more stars) but I think it’s a really good book for those who enjoy that genre. Anyways, I’m glad I read it though and I appreciate how the author brought attention to one important defiance in Nazi Germany.