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The Whispering Town

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  584 ratings  ·  154 reviews
The dramatic story of neighbors in a small Danish fishing village who, during the Holocaust, shelter a Jewish family waiting to be ferried to safety in Sweden.

It is 1943 in Nazi-occupied Denmark. Anett and her parents are hiding a Jewish woman and her son, Carl, in their cellar until a fishing boat can take them across the sound to neutral Sweden. The soldiers patrolling
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published February 7th 2015 by Kar-Ben Publishing (Tm) (first published January 1st 2014)
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Apr 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
During the German Occupation of Denmark during WWII, the Danish people offered a steady resistance and worked to help their Jewish neighbors to escape to neutral Sweden if at all possible. The Whispering Town tells of one such episode in a way that can be used to educate children, not young children, but those over 8 or 9 with parental or other adult support. A young girl, Anett, is one of the prime movers in the story, where a young Jewish boy and his mother are hidden in her family's cellar. ...more
Leigh Collazo
Jun 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful book about Danish resistance to Nazi "relocation" of Jews in 1943. It is excellent to use with older students to introduce The Holocaust.

I wrote up several lesson ideas for using this book with older students (MS, HS) on my blog at Mrs. ReaderPants. Please feel free to use them and share! They are great for English, library lessons, world history, and art classes.
Apr 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Excellent, intense picture book about the Holocaust. Requires quite a bit of contextualizing by knowledgeable adults or other books on the subject. Highly recommended for mature readers ages 9-11.
Sandy Brehl
Based on a true story of Danish resistance to Nazi occupation and the round-up of Jewish citizens, this is told and illustrated with a balance of realism and gentle intimacy. At a time and place in which trusting others with secrets was a life-risking decision, this story spotlights a little fishing village, Gilleleje, in which neighbors, including the young daughter who carries the story, proved their loyalty to each other and to human values. Nearly 1700 Danish Jews were hidden, fed, and ...more
Cœur De Pirate
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A moving little story about one of the most horrible historic periods (WW2). Loved the illustrations.
Jacquelynn Ruot
Mar 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
*Spoilers Below*
The Whispering Town is about a family who has been hiding Jews in their cellar. Anett and her family refer to the mother and son as visitors. When the family is running low on an item, they sent Anett to a neighbor to get more. All of the neighbor know about these visitors. The mother and son are supposed to say for three nights before they go to the harbor and take a boat to Sweden. The family needs more bread one night, and eggs the next. The whole time the Jewish family is in
Jun 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
1. I made a text to world connection in the book The Whispering Town by Jennifer Riesmeyer Elvgren. In the book, Anett's family hid Jews from Nazi soldiers and attempted to sneak them out to the harbor to sail to Sweden. In history there are many events where people had to essentially smuggle people out to safety. The underground railroad and underground church are great historical examples of times when people were under great discrimination.

2. I choose this book because of the historical
Caryn Caldwell
Anett's family harbors a Jewish mother and son during the Holocaust, intending to send them to safety via a boat to Sweden. Unfortunately, the cloudy nights make it impossible for the refugees to find the harbor, and Nazi soldiers are searching the neighborhood for escaped Jews. But thanks to Anett's bravery and ingenuity, and her neighbors' kindness, there may be hope for the boy and his mother after all. An author's note at the end gives more background on the Danish resistance.

I loved this
What a powerful and moving way to introduce children to life as a Jewish person seeking safety during World War II. This quick read is based on a real community in Gilleleje, who came together to help Jew's fleeing Denmark.
wow. what a powerful way to introduce the holocaust to our youngest readers.
During WWII, a village in Nazi-occupied Denmark helps Jews escape to Sweden by whispering them to the harbor in the dark of night.
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Quick picture book that tells of the story Nazi-occupied Denmark and the families that hid Jews and took them across to safety into Sweden.
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. I got a little teary-eyed reading this with my 7-year-old who is loving history right now. I love stories like these that portray bravery of common people.
"The Whispering Town" written by Jennifer Elvgren and illustrated by Fabio Santomauro, is an amazing historical fiction picture book designed for older readers. Elvgren introduces readers to the Holocaust and gives a simple and meaningful voice to the Danish resistance toward the Nazi Army. The story takes place in a Danish fishing town in 1943 during the Holocaust and tells the dramatic tell of two families, one Danish and the other Jewish, trying to survive the horrors of the time.
One morning
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
This story is a tale of the time when Jewish people were singled out by those in Germany during WW2. In this specific book, the main family is harboring a Jewish family in their own home's basement. They are waiting for the family to have the opportunity to escape, and board a boat to Sweden. The youngest son of the family is tasked with gathering materials for his own families day-to-day living. While going around the town to collect milk, eggs, and other basic necessities he whispers that they ...more
Anna-Marie Hodges
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: older-readers
The Whispering Town is a great addition for upper elementary level classrooms (3-5). This book takes readers through the adventures of a little girl named Anett and her family hiding and protecting a Jewish family during the holocaust. Anett forms a bond with the little boy, Carl, who is hiding in the cellar of her basement. When the Nazi soldiers catch wind that the little girl’s family could be hiding Jews, they help the Jewish family arrive to their next safe location. Anett comes up with the ...more
Sep 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-book
This book challenges adults who may read this to their children, or teachers to their students (ages 7-11), to work on their skills at introducing difficult subject matter. The story is set in Denmark during the Nazi occupation in the year 1943. Historical references at the back of the book establish the historical context more specifically. Essentially, the plot recounts the efforts of the Danes to hide Jews, who were living within their communities, from the Nazis and spirit them out of the ...more
Eileen Mccann
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The stark black ink on pure white with interspersed color illustrations, attest to the serious nature of THE WHISPERING TOWN, by Jennifer Elvgren, illustrated by Fabio Santomauro. In a small town in Nazi-occupied Denmark, its people hide Jewish residents before they escape to neutral Sweden. In this setting, we are introduced to Anett as she helps her parents hide young Carl and his mother. They wait in the family cellar for a moon-lit night that will lead them to the harbor's escape boat. Anett ...more
The Whispering Town
by Jennifer Elvgren

This is a simple book with a very moving ending. A family in Denmark is hiding Danish Jews in their cellar. They are awaiting a clear night to make their way to the harbor to board their boat to neutral Sweden where they will be free from the Nazi terrorization. Anett, the little girl who tells this story, helps her mother care for the mother and son in the cellar by running errands for bread, eggs, and library books. At each stop she whispers to the
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Summary: This book is set during the Holocaust between 1933-1945. A young girl goes in search of food and supplies for a Jewish family hidden in her parents cellar. During the story, the young girl encounters many different obstacles, but is helped by the community to keep the Jewish family safe. In the end, the neighbors line the streets in order to guide the young boy and his mother into the harbor to safety.
Theme: The major theme of this story revolves around the crisis a Jewish family might
Maddie Russell
Nov 07, 2017 rated it liked it
"The Whispering Town," a story set during the Holocaust, tells the story of a young girl, Annette, whose family is housing a Jewish mother and her son as they journey toward Sweden. After answering the door one day and discovering a German soldier demanding to know if Jews were being housed in her neighborhood, Annette creates a plan to quickly whisk Carl and his mother to safety in Northern Europe. Her plan is a success, and Annette's bravery and quick thinking saved two individuals from the ...more
Emily Emerson
Nov 19, 2017 rated it liked it
The Whispering Town is a true story about a family hiding Jews in their home. Anett and her family must keep their Jewish guests safe as the Nazis patrol their neighborhood. One night, Anett has an idea to help the family escape to neutral Sweden by boat. There is no moonlight, or any light at all. However, with the help of her family and her neighbors, Anett guides her friends to safety though whispering directions. The guests escape safely because of the help and bravery of Anett and her town. ...more
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Don't let the cover fool you. This isn't a ghost story.

Like The Yellow Star: The Legend of King Christian X of Denmark, The Whispering Town gives a peek into the quiet heroics of the Denmark people to save their Jewish citizens during WWII. It's still remarkable to me that almost all Denmark Jews survived that horrible period of history as a result.

There is one line for context of hiding people in a cellar from the smirking Nazis, so you'd have to build background of time and place and
Miss Ryoko
May 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Actual rating: 3.5

I really liked this book. I enjoy when their is children's literature in any form about WWII, but particularly picture books. I think it is very important this part of human history is never forgotten, and having these stories available to people of all ages is so important. Jennifer Elvgren did a good job of keeping the story friendly and informative. If you aren't well versed in WWII and the German occupation, you wouldn't know much about how scary this time was in this book.
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
ALA Children's Notable Book List, Sydney Taylor Honor Book, National Jewish Book Award Finalist- Based on true events in the Danish community of Gilleleje, Anett is a young girl whose family is helping to hide Danish Jews during the Holocaust. This historical fiction picture book actually covers WWII events and the day to day struggles of dealing with the Nazis. The book's illustrations use light and dark, visual clues, cartoonish illustrations, and age-appropriate language to make this book ...more
Olivia Wills
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read "The Whispering Town" by Jennifer Elvgren. I loved this book and thought it was a perfect book to use for your older elementary students on a history unit since it is about the Holocaust. I also think the front cover and back covers are great because you can have students look at that and guess what the story may be about before reading this book. I thought the illustrations in the book were interesting because a lot of it was black and white but there were some pages that had red color ...more
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books, angie, wwii
Very age appropriate for grade schoolers and up. I was struck by what a unique story it is, and was delighted to read the author’s note at the end that explained how Danish Jews really were led to the harbor by whispers from the doorways through the town. I liked how the story focused on the service, kindness, and generosity of the people when it came to caring for and protecting their “new friends,” who were Jews in hiding.
This is a new picture book recommended for helping kids learn about the Holocaust. I read it for May Melting Pot chat with #yearofya. Based on a real event, this book uses wonderful imagery that will not terrify young readers as they learn about a young girl who uses her whole town to help the 2 new friends hiding in their basement escape out of danger. The main character, the young girl, enlists the help of others in her village to provide books, and food to the new friends. A must read!
Marcia Lee
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Themes include resistance and helping others. Told from a child’s point of view, Anett lives with her activist family in a small Danish fishing village during the Nazi invasion. This is the story of hiding Danish Jews while they seek freedom from persecution. Even though Anett and her family harbor Carl and his mother for only 3 days, they form a close bond, and figure out a way to safety.
Adrianna Ibrahim
A simply written story that manages to pack emotion and intensity into a picture book format. Though it was easy for me to follow, after reading some reviews, I reread the book and agree that it requires knowledge of the Nazi occupation for context. This book would be a great supplement for an older child already learning about WWII.
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My new picture book, THE EDELWEISS PIRATES, will be published on September 1, 2018.

I am the author of THE WHISPERING TOWN, which has received the Prairie Pasque Book Award and the Andersen Prize (Italy). It has been named a Jane Addams Honor book, an ALA Children's Notable book, a Sydney Taylor Honor book and a National Jewish Book Award finalist. THE WHISPERING TOWN was also named to Booklist's