Here, Kip Wilson talks about her new book, WHITE ROSE, a moving novel in verse about a young girl and her heroism in standing up against the Nazis in Germany during WWII.
"A gorgeous and timely novel based on the incredible story of Sophie Scholl, a young German college student who challenged the Nazi regime during World War II as part of The White Rose, a non-violent resistance group. Disillusioned by the propaganda of Nazi Germany, Sophie Scholl, her brother, and his fellow soldiers formed the White Rose, a group that wrote and distributed anonymous letters criticizing the Nazi regime and calling for action from their fellow German citizens. The following year, Sophie and her brother were arrested for treason and interrogated for information about their collaborators. This debut novel recounts the lives of Sophie and her friends and highlights their brave stand against fascism in Nazi Germany."
Photo credit © Rosanne Samson
I originally wrote White Rose from three main points of view (Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans, and their friend Christoph Probst), but my editor, Margaret Raymo, thought the story would work better if focused on Sophie alone, and she was definitely right. Back in high school German class when I first learned about the White Rose, Sophie had been the one to grab my attention, and she's been an inspiration to me ever since my teen years. I hope she inspires a new generation of kids now! But for author-me as an adult, Christoph's story really spoke to me as well. Just like Sophie's brother Hans, Christoph was a medical student who loved the natural world around him, who didn't want anything to do with the Nazi regime, and who wanted the war to stop, but unlike the others in the group, Christoph was married and a father of three small children. For the sake of his young family, the others tried to keep him out of their resistance activities. However, when he couldn't remain silent any longer, he wrote a leaflet condemning the German war machine and gave it to Hans, who had this draft in his pocket when he was arrested. This of course meant that it didn't take the Gestapo long to come for Christoph.
[Here is her "extra" poem from Christoph's point of view.]
|Photo of Hans, Sophie, and Christoph|
The black uniforms
of the Gestapo
like giant crows
in a hayfield
when they arrive,
on a military base.
Their gazes scan
even the staunchest Party supporter
twitches with suppressed
But my fear
bulges into terror
that traps my breath
in my throat
when one of them
raises a terrible wing,
in my direction.
This beautiful novel in verse is a compelling read and a first-person window into the world of political protest. Rooted in a true story, Wilson channels the passions and dreams of a young woman who looks around her and sees a world that isn't working and knows she must act. It's inspiring and (sadly) relevant today, too. For a helpful educator's guide, White Rose and We Will Not Be Silent, go here.
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