The Other Side – Heather Camlot, Red Deer Press, (9780889956148), 2020
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: Realistic fiction
What did you like about the book? This is a very rare story as there are two children, 12-year-old Liam and his sister, nine-year-old Elvy, and two parents. It is a normal family. Liam is a budding soccer player who squabbles with his smart, athletic sister. Their grandfather lives in the country in a house they have always spent their summers at. Now he is old and sick in a nursing home for veterans. Grandpa was born and raised in Berlin, and ordered into the German army at the age of 16. He was at the front in 1945 after three days of training. He survives after being helped to run away by two older soldiers. He makes his way to Canada and marries. His son marries a Jewish woman who is the mother of Liam and Elvy. Liam is just learning that his beloved grandfather, who taught him soccer, was a soldier in Hitler’s army. He is appalled. He then learns the truth of his grandfather’s experience –
The story is so realistic, the characters so fully realized and the scenes so vivid. Liam’s best friend Alessia is Black, but all others presumed White.
Anything you did not like about the book? No.
To whom would you recommend this book? This is a unique view of World War II from the viewpoint of a Canadian child. Moving. Provocative. Informational.
Who should buy this book? Public and elementary and middle school libraries
Where would you shelve it? Juvenile fiction
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Top one-third.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Editor of Youth Services Book Review
Date of Review: 7/5/2021