A Time to Choose.
Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.
At that time it hadn't bothered Johannes that his father was a member of the National Socialist Movement, the only political party allowed under German occupation. Modelled after the German Nazi party, the organization was run by Dutch ministers, but was completely under German control. At first many believed that a better economy would solve the country's problems. As a result, most farmers became members of the National Socialist Movement. There were real benefits. The Germans paid good money for dairy and grain products. Uncle Jan, father's oldest brother always said, "Hitler pays more for our products than the Queen ever did." Uncle Jan was a faithful party member.
But as time passed and the war showed no signs of ending, people began to realize that the Germans were not always that reliable. For one thing, they paid with money that was worthless. Now, the benefits were not so clear. Many farmers terminated their membership in the movement.
Johannes wished his father had given up his membership and joined the resistance. At first he hadn't seen his father as a traitor. But in the last two years Johannes had begun to worry. More and more people were working in the resistance. Now he often wondered if his father was an informer.
Attema's first novel for young people -- the story of sixteen-year-old Johannes van der Meer's coming of age in the last years of World War II -- is an excellent read. Attema evokes the Netherlands of her childhood with vivid descriptions of farm life in Friesland province.
Michele F. Kallio is a former teacher/librarian living in Blacks Harbour, New Brunswick.
For more information about A Time To Chooseor other fine books by Orca Publishers contact Christine Toller.
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