I started reading this book last night. When I finished the last page, I got out of bed, made breakfast, then stood in front of the bifolds looking out at the garden while drinking coffee. I watched a magpie watching me, and thought that as long as there are Danes, there maybe hope for the human race after all.
It was 4am, so I was probably a bit more emotional than I usually am.
Now I don’t read a lot of YA fiction. I think the last one was Predator’s Gold from the Mortal Engines series. But I actually made the effort to track this one one down after my much better half (she’s a huge Toksvig fan) played me an interview where Toksvig talked about her family’s involvement in a nationwide plan to the evacuate Danish Jews (or as the Danes liked to call them, Danes) from occupied Denmark, and Toksvig had written a short story about it. (I think the sacrifice and bravery of the Scandinavians during WWII has never received the recognition it deserved, so I wrote a novel about it a few years back)
I didn’t find Toksvig’s short story, but I did find this book, and as you may have already guessed, I think it’s certainly the best YA novel I’ve ever read.
There were 8000 Jews living in Denmark when the Nazis invaded (April 1940). The country was small and ill-equipped to fight, so it submitted in pretty short order. In fact, the term Hitler’s Canary was coined by the British press, as they now viewed Denmark as a caged bird, singing for the Nazis. Unsurprisingly, as with most things regarding the British press, nothing could be further from the truth.Continue reading “Hitler’s Canary by Sandi Tokskvig”