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kid

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Marcel’s big dream is to compete in the prestigious Tour de France, a grueling cycling race. But since the Germans have occupied France, his racing may mean the difference between life and death!
Ages 9+
Pages 176
Publisher Scholastic
Coming Jan 2021
Awards
Sydney Taylor Notable Book

Average Rating

131 Reviews
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What the Book Is About

Twelve-year-old Marcel dreams of one day competing in the prestigious Tour de France, a grueling bicycle race across the country. He idolizes famous cyclists and trains every day on his trusty blue bike. But since the Occupation began, the race has been canceled, and now German soldiers are everywhere in his small village. When he discovers, by chance, that his parents are members of the French Resistance and his new friend Delphine is really Rachel, Marcel must cycle for his country in a race far more important than the Tour de France. This short, fast-paced story will have kids on the edge of their seats, rooting for Marcel to save the day. A timeline of events surrounding this book as well as an interesting afterword about the Tour De France offer full context for both the sport and the historical setting.

Jewish Content & Values

  • This book takes place in France during World War II and highlights the risks that the French Resistance took by protecting Jewish people during this time. 
  • Delphine and her family are Jewish and speak about their lives in the years leading up to the war. 

Positive Role Models

  • Marcel is a caring friend to Delphine, and he's quick-thinking and clever in escaping the soldiers. He is brave and determined to succeed in his mission.
  • Marcel’s mother and father, as well as all the brave French citizens who joined the Resistance and risked their lives to save Jewish families, are a source of positive inspiration for all readers.

Content Advisory

It is clear from the book that Delphine, her family, and all the members of the Resistance are risking their lives and could be deported or even killed by the Germans. Delphine says, “I know what they do to people like me. They round us up and they lock us up. And then they kill us.”

Talk It Over

When Delphine wins the bike race, Marcel is doubly humiliated because she’s a girl. Do you think attitudes towards girls’ achievements have changed in the 70+ years since World War II? Why or why not?

More for You

Did you know that the Tour de France originated as a publicity stunt organized by L’Auto, a French sports newspaper, to boost flagging circulation resulting from its public support of Captain Alfred Dreyfus? (Dreyfus was a French Jew accused of treason in a famous antisemitic case that split the country apart.)

During World War II, Italian cycling legend (and Tour de France winner in 1938 and 1948) Gino Bartali used his bicycle frame to smuggle clandestine documents, saving the lives of hundreds of Jews. In 2013, he was named Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem. More recently, cyclist Shani Bloch was the first Israeli woman to compete in the Tour de France, finishing in 3rd place in the under-25s division in 2002.

What the Book Is About

What the Book Is About

Twelve-year-old Marcel dreams of one day competing in the prestigious Tour de France, a grueling bicycle race across the country. He idolizes famous cyclists and trains every day on his trusty blue bike. But since the Occupation began, the race has been canceled, and now German soldiers are everywhere in his small village. When he discovers, by chance, that his parents are members of the French Resistance and his new friend Delphine is really Rachel, Marcel must cycle for his country in a race far more important than the Tour de France. This short, fast-paced story will have kids on the edge of their seats, rooting for Marcel to save the day. A timeline of events surrounding this book as well as an interesting afterword about the Tour De France offer full context for both the sport and the historical setting.

Jewish Content & Values

  • This book takes place in France during World War II and highlights the risks that the French Resistance took by protecting Jewish people during this time. 
  • Delphine and her family are Jewish and speak about their lives in the years leading up to the war. 

Positive Role Models

  • Marcel is a caring friend to Delphine, and he's quick-thinking and clever in escaping the soldiers. He is brave and determined to succeed in his mission.
  • Marcel’s mother and father, as well as all the brave French citizens who joined the Resistance and risked their lives to save Jewish families, are a source of positive inspiration for all readers.

Content Advisory

It is clear from the book that Delphine, her family, and all the members of the Resistance are risking their lives and could be deported or even killed by the Germans. Delphine says, “I know what they do to people like me. They round us up and they lock us up. And then they kill us.”

Talk It Over

When Delphine wins the bike race, Marcel is doubly humiliated because she’s a girl. Do you think attitudes towards girls’ achievements have changed in the 70+ years since World War II? Why or why not?

More for You

Did you know that the Tour de France originated as a publicity stunt organized by L’Auto, a French sports newspaper, to boost flagging circulation resulting from its public support of Captain Alfred Dreyfus? (Dreyfus was a French Jew accused of treason in a famous antisemitic case that split the country apart.)

During World War II, Italian cycling legend (and Tour de France winner in 1938 and 1948) Gino Bartali used his bicycle frame to smuggle clandestine documents, saving the lives of hundreds of Jews. In 2013, he was named Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem. More recently, cyclist Shani Bloch was the first Israeli woman to compete in the Tour de France, finishing in 3rd place in the under-25s division in 2002.