As I started to read this book to see if I wanted to include it in our elementary library's collection, I did not expect to get caught up in its story. But I did! I read the book in one sitting, and I decided that this was a significant enough book that I would read it aloud to our 8 classes of 4th and 5th graders, whom had just read about Joseph Stalin during their history classes.
After reading chapters 1 - 5 aloud to the first group, I asked what they though about the story so far. One boy said, "I want to break THOSE guys' noses for taking the dad!" A girl immediately responded, "My heart is racing around in my chest!" Other groups of students have responded similarly. We have not completed the read-aloud yet, but I think this story will speak to these children long after history review questions have been written and graded --- and tossed or lost.