Author: Jeanne Moran
Published September 13th, 2013 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Summary: Munich, Germany, 1938. The Nazis are in power and war is on the horizon.
Timid Sophie Adler is a member of Hitler Youth and a talented amateur photographer. When she contracts polio, her Youth leader supplies her with film. Photographs she takes of fellow polio patients are turned into propaganda, mocking people with disabilities, people just like her.
Sophie’s new disability has changed her status. She has joined the ranks of the outsiders, targets of Nazi scorn and possible persecution.
Her only weapon is her camera.
Review: Sophie’s story is one that is not often told. World War II stories often focus on the impact of the Holocaust on the Jewish population of Europe; however, what happened to those in Germany who weren’t Jewish yet the Nazis felt were useless? This story looks at one girls’ version of a story, but Sophie still is “useful” to the Nazis because she is a photographer, but she has to make a choice between taking photographs of what she is told or photographs of the truth about what is going on in Germany.
Much of Sophie’s story is universal: bullying, friendship, family issues, etc., but readers will also learn about the Hitler Youth and the beginning of Hitler’s rise in Germany.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: In addition to being a book that should definitely be in classroom libraries, I could also see Risking Exposure being a perfect addition to World War II lit circles/text sets. Since Sophie’s story is so unique, it will make any set of books include more diverse stories about WWII.
Discussion Questions: If you were Sophie, would you go with what she knew was right or would you do what was ordered of you?; How did contracting polio change Sophie’s life?; How did being a photographer potentially save Sophie’s life?; How did Sophie’s kindness cause her to contract polio?; How is Sophie’s story different than other WWII stories you’ve read?; How do you think Sophie’s decision is going to affect her life?
Flagged Passages: “When Werner ordered me to grab my camera and follow him into the woods, I obeyed. He was the Scharfuhrer, the Master Sergeant. What else could I do?
My best friend Ronnie bolted to her feet alongside me. ‘You don’t need to go everywhere Sophie does, Renate,’ Wener said to her in his usual high-pitched whine. But she ignored him and winked at me as we crashed through the underbrush. Rennie got away with a certain level of disobedience. Younger sisters can.
But I wasn’t Werner’s sister. I couldn’t risk it.” (p. 3)
Read This If You Loved: The War that Saved my Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Hitler Youth by Susan Campbell Bartoletti