The Children of Freedom is written from the perspective of 18 year old Jeannot who has, along with his younger brother, found refuge from Nazi persecution in Toulouse in 1942.  The brothers join the 35th Brigade – a group of young foreigners who fight back against their oppressors. Based on true accounts from the Resistance, including that of the author’s father, the book follows the stories of members of the 35th Brigade and looks at those who resisted – in small or large ways – the hatred of the Nazi regime.

Discussion Questions

Please note that some of these questions will act as spoilers for the book.

1.      why did Jan think it was dangerous for members of the Brigade to fall in love or to have personal relationships?  How do you think that this affected the relationship between Jeannot and Claude?

2.      throughout the book, Jeannot meets many individuals who are resisting the Nazis.  Jeannot is part of an organised Resistance movement, however, others hide prisoners or supply lodging for Brigade members.  Do you think that any of these acts are more heroic than another?

3.      do you think that members of the Brigade continue to resist even when they are in prison?

4.      is it relevant that all members of the Brigade were foreigners in France?

5.      the author often tells us the fate of the Brigade members before we hear their full story.  Does this affect the way that you feel about each character?

6.      throughout, we’re told that ‘one day, Spring will come again’.  How do we know that it has?

7.      Samuel asks Jeannot to make a promise to him. He asks him to tell his future children their story ‘You’ll tell them to tell our story, in their free world’.  Do you think that the author fulfils this promise?

You can download this book activity.

You can use HMD resources to find out more about resistance and rescuers http://www.hmd.org.uk/genocides/the-holocaust/liberation-resistance-and-rescuers.