Finished January 31
Prisoner of Warren by Andreas Oertel
This children's novel is set in the summer of 1944 in rural New Brunswick. Thirteen-year-old Warren Webb is upset that his parents have decided to take on a German prisoner of war (POW) as a worker on their farm. He and his best friend Tom and determined that they must defend themselves from this threat and kill him before he kills them.
But then Warren meets Martin, the young man who speaks good English, works hard, and takes the time to explain things to Warren. With Martin sleeping in the same room as Warren, and the two tasked with all the work needed to bring indoor plumbing to the Webb home, they learn a lot about each other. When Warren finds that Martin, like himself, is a sprinter, the connection becomes stronger.
Three older boys, known for their bullying behaviour make Warren and Martin targets after they come to the assistance of two local girls. The ensuing conflict will have Warren drawing on skills within himself that he never realized he had.
Warren also misses his older brother Pete, who died from polio, and talks to him whenever he wants advice. This provides a sounding board and source of humour for Warren at times of indecision.
This is a book that deals with the issues of war, the propaganda that is built around it, bullying, and friendship.
For another book written for youth on POWs in Canada, see Uncertain Soldier by Karen Bass.