A Thunderous Whisper

304p. glossary. photos. Knopf. 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-375-86929-7; PLB $20.99. ISBN 978-0-375-96929-4; ebook $10.99. ISBN 978-0-375-98274-3. LC 2011043445.
Gr 5–8—In the midst of the Spanish Civil War, 12-year-old Ani unexpectedly gets drawn into a network of underground rebels working to thwart Franco's efforts to destroy the Basque people's way of life. With the threat of Hitler and the Nazis also on the horizon, Ani and her half-German, half-Basque friend, Mathias, work together to deliver messages for the rebels, using Ani and her mother's sardine business as their cover. When Guernica is bombed and both children end up without parents to care for them, Mathias vows to return to Germany to fight the Nazis, while Ani's father (who is fighting Franco's army) sends her to England along with hundreds of other Basque children. Through the tragedy of war, Ani discovers true friendship and loyalty for the first time. While readers will find her clandestine activities exciting, there is little explanation provided about the Spanish Civil War. Students unfamiliar with Spain's struggles during this period might not understand the gravity of the Basque people's problem, or its connection to Hitler's rise in power. However, this book provides a glimpse into an underrepresented world in juvenile literature, making it a good addition to middle-grade collections. Recommended it to fans of Roland Smith's Elephant Run (Hyperion, 2007).—Nora G. Murphy, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, LaCanada-Flintridge, CA

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