Surprising Spies: Unexpected Heroes of World War II

Holiday House. Nov. 2020. 160p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780823437573.
Gr 3-7–This entertaining anthology features short biographies of people who worked to undermine the Nazi regime during World War II. Each chapter highlights a specific person and their career as a spy, such as Josephine Baker, Virginia Hall, and Noor Inayat Khan. The concise chapters contain many graphic elements. Photographs and maps help to illuminate each individual, allowing readers to develop a connection to each of the spies. The profiles seem to be carefully selected and curated, ensuring a balanced gender representation. Many different cultural groups are represented, including Hispanics, African Americans, Indians, and Native Americans. The men and women have unique backgrounds, including a magician, a safecracker, a musician, and a baseball player. Each compelling entry details what happened to the spies after the war. Teachers can offer this title to reluctant readers, and the book could also serve as a starting point for deeper research. This work is recommended for ages eight through 12, but older readers might also find this an engrossing read.
VERDICT An excellent addition to any collection about World War II.

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