Dear Peter, Dear Ulla
Dear Peter, Dear Ulla is an imaginative and beautifully crafted historical middle-grade novel about two cousins who are fast friends even though they have never met. Ulla lives in Danzig, a city that has just been occupied by the Nazis, and Peter lives on a farm in a Mennonite community in Saskatchewan. What had been an easy and entertaining connection between Peter, a talented pianist, and Ulla, who is gifted at drawing, becomes fraught with unthinkable questions. Are they supposed to consider each other enemies now that Canada and Germany are at war?
What makes a person your enemy? What makes a person your friend? Is violence ever a good solution to conflict? Bruno, a bullying neighbour boy, wants Peter and other German-speaking boys to be ready to fight Canadian schoolmates who may doubt their allegiance to Canada. Ulla is secretly aiding Erwina, a Polish friend severely burned after her home, the Polish Post Office, was attacked by the Nazis in one of the first battles of World War Two.
Unfolding in alternating chapters, the drama around these urgent situations will keep young readers in thrall to the entwined lives of these two fiercely intelligent cousins who must confront issues of bullying, prejudice, and racial violence -- some of the most challenging issues of their time, and ours.
About this Author
Barbara Nickel grew up in Saskatchewan and attended Goshen College in Indiana, where she studied music (violin) and English literature. She received an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, where she also taught. Barbara has published acclaimed books for both adults and young people. Her children's titles include Hannah Waters and the Daughter of Johann Sebastian Bach, which won a B.C. Book Prize and was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award, as well as a picture book, A Boy Asked the Wind, which was a finalist for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award. Barbara lives in Yarrow, British Columbia, with her husband and two sons.
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