A Time to be Brave

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A Time of Angels book coverWhat the Book is About:

Ten-year-old David and his family live in Copenhagen in 1943, three years into the Nazi occupation. Life is complicated and a bit dangerous, as David’s family is Jewish and many of their friends and acquaintances are involved with the Resistance. Despite this worrisome background, David’s attitude is positive and cheerful, and his patriotic pride shines throughout the story. When they discover that the Nazis are planning to round up Denmark’s Jews, David and his family escape with the help of their Christian neighbors. An afterword including a honey cake recipe, map, timeline and “Behind the Story” appendix complete this lovely, informative and easy-to-read book.

Jewish Content and Values

David’s family celebrates Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, with a special honey cake prepared by his mother. His family also celebrates Passover and other Jewish holidays.

Positive Role Models

  • Miss Kiersted is David’s courageous teacher. She is a patriotic Dane who encourages David to advance in his studies, and even rides out to his home on her bicycle to deliver a copy of his school newspaper so that he can see his article in print before he leaves Denmark.
  • The King of Denmark, King Christian, is a brave and honorable man who loves his people. He proudly rides through town each morning to give the people courage during the Nazi occupation.
  • Rachel, David’s sister, is a university student involved in the Resistance. She risks her life on a regular basis to defy the Nazis.
  • The Jensens are close family friends who risk their own personal safety to save David’s family from the Nazis.

Content Advisory

Although this book does not contain any particular scenes that would be emotionally difficult for children in this age group, there is an overall aura of worry and uncertainty for Jewish people living through World War II.

Talk it Over

King Christian stopped fighting the Germans, allowing them to occupy Denmark. Then he sabotaged his own navy. Why do you think he made these decisions? In hindsight, do you think he made the right choices? Why or why not?

More For You

Borge Rosenbaum, more popularly known as Victor Borge, was a famous Jewish-Danish-American musical humorist, pianist and conductor. Hailed as a musical prodigy in his youth, he never had the “zitzfleish,” or patience, to become a great concert pianist, although he achieved great success in his comedic performances. As a Jew (and a comedian who used jokes to defy the Nazis), he was forced to flee to Finland when the Nazis occupied Denmark, eventually immigrating to America, where he continued his stand-up career to great success. His performances on television, radio, in concert halls and on Broadway drew large crowds. His energy was inexhaustible: he played sixty shows a year at the age of ninety. Later in life he became the founder of the Thanks to Scandinavia Foundation, an organization that supplies scholarships to students in recognition for the role that their countrymen played in saving Scandinavian Jewry during World War II.

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