ElCicco #CBR5 Review #15: The Klipfish Code by Mary Casanova


This youth lit novel’s topic is Norwegian resistance in World War II. The story is told from the point of view of Marit, a 10-year-old in 1940 when the Germans begin bombing Norway. Marit’s parents send her and her younger brother Lars to mom’s hometown to be cared for by relatives while mom and dad join the resistance. Aunt Ingeborg is a school teacher and Bestefar (grandfather) is a fisherman.

Marit’s relationship with her grandfather is strained. She feels that he has always preferred Lars and she is also angry that Bestefar seems to simply go along with the Nazis rather than resist like her parents. The author provides plenty of historical detail for young readers as the relationship between Marit and Bestefar develops. Readers will learn of the Nazis’ initial attempts to win over Norwegians as “fellow aryans”, and, failing at that, the use of intimidation and arrest to keep them in line. Norwegians had to give their blankets, food, even radios to the occupiers. Teachers and ministers were forced to teach Nazi propaganda. When they refused, churches closed and one out of every ten school teachers were rounded up and sent off to camps. Wearing traditional Norwegian garb was also construed as an act of resistance and subject to punishment.

The author presents great detail about Norway, its people, their resistance to the Nazis and the price they paid. The action takes place over several years and shows Marit maturing and taking bold action on behalf of the resistance and ultimately learning the truth about her grandfather. A decent novel for kids to learn a little about World War II and the resistance.