Reading List: World Freedom Day: November 9
On November 9, 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall signaled the end of Communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe. Because the reuniting of Germany was so monumental to world history, in 2001, then-President George W. Bush declared World Freedom Day on November 9 to commemorate the occasion. Berlin is not without its share of historical events, namely the Holocaust and the division created by the Berlin Wall, and many books have been written to examine each circumstance. This book list is compiled for readers ages 13-18 and primarily contains titles of fiction. While most of these stories are fictional, they take place in real historical circumstances and allow readers to place themselves in other moments in time. A selection of non-fiction titles is also included to enhance readers’ understanding of real-life Berlin.
Contributed by: Mary Lanni
By: Robert Elmer
In 1961, thirteen-year-old Sabine, an adventurer despite being crippled by polio, finds a forgotten bunker which might allow her, her family, and friends to reach freedom by tunneling under the Berlin Wall, or might lead to far greater danger.
|A Berlin Love Song
By: Sarah Matthias
Max is a German schoolboy when he first meets Lili, a trapeze artist from a traveling circus that performs every year in Berlin. Lili is a Romani, and her life and customs are very different from those of Max and his family. Their friendship turns into love, but love between a German and a Romani is definitely forbidden. As Max is conscripted into the SS and war tears them apart, can their love survive? Set against the backdrop of the Second World War, A Berlin Love Song is a love story of passion, unexpected friendship, despair, loss, and hope.
|Escape to West Berlin
By: Maurine F. Dahlberg
In 1961 East Berlin, thirteen-year-old Heidi copes with the stress of a crisis with her best friend, government pressure on her father to leave his West Berlin job, her mother’s pregnancy, and the ever-present threat of the closing of the border with West Berlin.
|The Fall of the Berlin Wall
By: Patricia Levy
Examines the events leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, the day itself, and the ways in which life has changed since then.
By: Beth Kephart
In the early 1980s, Ada and Stefan are young, would-be lovers living on opposite sides of the Berlin Wall—Ada lives with her mother and grandmother and paints graffiti on the Wall, and Stefan lives with his grandmother in the East and dreams of escaping to the West.
By: Irene N. Watts
The autumn of 1938 was cold in Berlin, and Marianne Kohn’s world was crumbling. First came the burning of neighborhood shops. Then her father was forced to live in hiding. Marianne was no longer allowed to go to school, to a cafe, or even sit on a park bench. The noose around Germany’s Jews was growing tighter and tighter.
|The Other Side of the Wall
By: Simon Schwartz
Simon Schwartz was born in 1982 in the GDR (East Germany). One and a half years later, he left the country with his parents, and the family resettled in West Berlin. As political dissidents, his parents experienced harassment by the Stasi and a lack of understanding from members of their own family. This striking graphic novel memoir chronicles the family’s difficult journey to get to the other side of the Berlin Wall.
By: Leslie Wilson
Jenny is a fifteen-year-old German girl in love with a Jewish boy in 1943 Berlin who, along with her sympathetic mother, decides to try to help the boy by hiding him from the Nazi authorities.
By: Robert Elmer
In Berlin in 1989, the Cold War seems to be coming to an end, but thirteen-year-old Liesl still feels trapped behind a wall as she tries to uncover a secret about her American grandfather, aided by a boy whose father is in the United States Air Force.
|The Sound of Munich
By: Suzanne Nelson
Siena Bernstein attends school in Munich for three months, where she perfects her German language skills, flirts with her attractive resident advisor, and attempts to find the man who helped her father’s family escape East Berlin in 1962.
|TV Shows the World Freedom as the Berlin Wall Falls
By: Danielle Smith-Llera
On-point historical photographs combined with strong narration bring the story of the Berlin Wall to life. Kids will learn about the partition of Berlin after WWII, the cold war tensions between the US and the USSR that led to the building of the wall, and the anti-communist pressures that led it to fall. The fall of the wall would become a symbol of democracy and freedom. Readers will understand the significance behind this event through text and clips of the event itself via the Capstone 4D augmented reality app.
By: Paul Dowswell
Immediately after the surrender of Germany in World War II, Otto and his friends learn to stay alive in the wreckage of Berlin, each of the children learning to deal with the psychological wounds the Nazi regime left upon the country.