2015 Summer Reading Suggestions
How Huge the Night
Here is another book I reviewed way back in 2011. It's one of those books that stays in your head and makes you think. It's interesting to see the book through the eyes of a young person lived through that period of time. Yes, it's fiction but it's very real and I can guarantee your kids will be thinking of something other than the newest styles or the latest violent video game. It will give them a boost in compassion and hopefully they will stop and think before they speak.
How Huge the Night
by Heather Munn & Lydia Munn
About the book:
15 year old Julien Losier is angry, frustrated, and itching to do something. After his family relocates to southern France to outrun Hitler's menace, they open their home to a Jewish boy needing refuge. Then Julien meets Nina, a young Austrian who has fled her home by her father's dying command. Nina's situation is grave and Julien suddenly realizes the enormity of having someone's life or death depend on him.
My original review & current thoughts: (please note: current thoughts will be italized - I haven't added a lot to this review as my original post covered much of what needs to be said.)
How Huge the Night is easily one of my favorite books this year. The historical aspect of the story is amazing and the book was very engrossing from the very first page on. The book itself was written for 14-17 year olds but definitely goes beyond that age group.
Julien is a 15 year old boy, uprooted from his home & forced to share his family with an "outsider". Benjamin is Jewish, stand-offish, smart, rich & not friendly. The boys of the village Julien's family has moved to are unfriendly, consider HIM an outsider (even though his family had lived in that region for generations) and not only that Julien's father is a teacher at his new school & planning on opening a new Christian school the following year which Julien blames for the move. You see the anger filling Julien and he has a choice - is it going to consume him or is he going to sweep it away?
This story through Julien's eyes teaches about prejudice & how he can support and encourage those being treated wrongly and stand up to the community for what is right. It begins with Julien learning how his own family escaped from persecution and helps to build this town they are now living in and continues with a challenge: his Grandfather challenges him to pray that God would show him what He wants Julien to do. In return his Grandfather would pray that the boys at school would "see the light".
Julien accepts this challenge and you begin to see Julien slowly change, his eyes are opened to what Benjamin must be feeling ~ his loneliness & anger to what is happening to his people. He sees France fall to Hitler & you see Julien's prayer change "that God would show him the road He wants him to go on" and then Julien begins to pray that God will help him learn to "love and forgive" his enemies. He learns to pray and speak without pride and hate.
"...resist with the weapons of the Spirit; without fear, without pride, and without hate."
Parent's I strongly encourage you to read this book with your teens. Extremely well written, engrossing and challenging ~ this book will open the gates to conversation about prejudice and persecution giving you the opportunity to teach your children to stand up for what's right.
How Huge the Night is a compelling, coming-of-age drama that will keep teens (and their parents!) turning the pages as it teaches them about a fascinating period of history and inspires them to think more deeply about their everyday choices.
Learn more about the book, the authors and find discussion questions to be used with Youth Groups & Students on their website HERE.
Heather Munn and Lydia Munn are a mother-daughter team who wrote the book together. Heather grew up in France and lived there from the age of 2-17. She knows first hand the people, the countryside and the history of this country and the personality of it's people. The story itself is based on events that occurred during WWII and even through the town of Tanieux doesn't exist the town is based off another French town.