Graffiti Knight

Graffiti Knight

Book - 2013
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After a childhood cut short by war and the harsh strictures of Nazi Germany, sixteen-year-old Wilm is finally tasting freedom. In spite of the scars World War II has left on his hometown, Leipzig, and in spite of the oppressive new Soviet regime, Wilm is finding his own voice. It's dangerous, of course, to be sneaking out at night to leave messages on police buildings. But it's exciting, too, and Wilm feels justified, considering his family's suffering. Until one mission goes too far, and Wilm finds he's endangered the very people he most wants to protect. Award-winning author Karen Bass brings readers a fast-paced story about a boy fighting for self-expression in an era of censorship and struggle.
Publisher: Toronto : Pajama Press Inc., 2013
ISBN: 9781927485538
Branch Call Number: BASS
Characteristics: 288 pages


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Aug 22, 2017

I really enjoyed this YA novel. There was clearly a lot of research put into it as well as a fairly accurate viewpoint of a teen in such a trying (to say the least) situation.

Jul 17, 2015

one of the best books I've read this summer.

Workingthestacks Jun 19, 2015

I found this novel highly contrived. An unfortunate choice for this very important list.

SPL_Childrens Nov 20, 2014

Graffiti is also the subject of a second recent teen novel, set in post-Second World War East Germany. The year is 1947. Life was very difficult during the war – and unfortunately, it continues to be so.

By day, Wilm is an ordinary 16-year-old teen. By night, he sneaks out to write messages on the walls of Leipzig – messages to inform everyone that the local police are mere puppets of the oppressive Soviet Army, which has held control of East Germany since the end of the war.

The police and the Soviet Army are both after Wilm, of course, but this doesn’t deter him from his cause, which is dear to his heart. His family endured enormous suffering during the war and has been harassed since then by the police. Besides, Wilm feels confident that he can continue to elude the authorities.

However Wilm does eventually get caught, and he realizes that he has been too confident and has gone too far. He also realizes that even the best-intended actions can have very serious, unforeseen consequences.

Graffiti Knight, Alberta author Karen Bass’ fourth book for teens, is a truly gripping story. One of the finalist novels for the 2014 Canadian Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People, her tale features realistic, likeable characters and presents an accurate, suspenseful portrayal of life in post-war Eastern Germany.

samdog123 Nov 02, 2014

A great story for those aged 12 and up. Wilm and his family are surviving in post-war Germany where the Soviets still maintain power. Life is hard and treatment is harsh. When Wilm discovers his sister's secret, he and his friends begin to fight back--at first through pranks and then through more direct attacks. But when the Soviets catch on, Wilm and his friend face certain punishment unless they can escape.

Cdnbookworm Feb 20, 2014

This teen novel is set in Leipzig, Germany in 1947. Wilm is in his second last year of high school, yet he has stopped trying in school. Living in the Soviet Zone of Germany feels like being in prison, his sister has become a shadow of her former self, and his father's war injury has left him resentful and his mother subdued. Wilm escapes on the weekends to his uncle Bruno's farm to work and get some much needed food. His math teacher Herr Bader has taken an interest in him and tries to get him to try in his schoolwork again so that he can attend university as his parents wish.
One day Wilm gives in to an impulse when playing a game with his friends and takes a risk against the Soviets. He gets away with it, and makes a new friend, an older man who encourages his university aspirations and urges him to find ways to build rather than destroy. But Wilm likes the way his act of defiance made him feel and begins to take more risks, leaving a message behind each time, giving his opinion of the police, that they are mere puppets, Marionetten, of the occupying Soviets. That is, until one of his acts of defiance puts those he cares about into danger.
Great story, set in a time and place that I've not read about before. Bass makes Wilm, come alive as a complex character being forced to grow up more quickly than he should. His friends Karl and Georg, his sister Anneliese, and Georg's friend Ruth also are multidimensional. She also gives a real sense of what post-war Soviet-occupied Germany was like for the people who lived there.
An additional cool factor for me is that the author is Canadian, and from the same part of the country as my parents. This book made the OLA Best Bets list this year, a well-deserved honour.

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SPL_Childrens Nov 20, 2014

SPL_Childrens thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 12 and 18


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