“A story with well-drawn, complex characters, gripping history, and intense emotion.” (School Library Journal (starred review))
“A fine one-two punch with the author’s previous powerful work, My Mother the Cheerleader.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“Readers will be drawn [in] by the sports detail and by the close-up narrative ofthe daily oppression.” (ALA Booklist)
“A meaty, readable account of the perils and pitfalls of daily life in Nazi Germany.” (The Horn Book)
“This beautifully written coming-of-age story puts a human face on both the victims and the tormentors during the holocaust while revealing on a national level the political importance and implications of the historic match between black boxer Joe Louis and German hero Max Schmeling.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))
“I held my breath as Karl Stern, fierce and thoughtful, fought his way through the Nazi Wolf Pack and his own insecurities to save his family and become a boxer and an artist.” (Robert Lipsyte, author of THE CONTENDER and CENTER FIELD)
Praise for MY MOTHER THE CHEERLEADER:“Readers will be held fast by the history told from the inside.” (Booklist (starred review))
Praise for MY MOTHER THE CHEERLEADER:“Powerfully written.” (School Library Journal (starred review))
Praise for MY MOTHER THE CHEERLEADER:“Teens should remain riveted right through the devastating conclusion to Sharenow’s promising work of historical fiction.” (Publishers Weekly)
From the Back Cover
Fourteen-year-old Karl Stern has never thought of himself as a Jew. But to the bullies at his school in Naziera Berlin, it doesn't matter that Karl has never set foot in a synagogue or that his family doesn't practice religion. Demoralized by relentless attacks on a heritage he doesn't accept as his own, Karl longs to prove his worth to everyone around him.
So when Max Schmeling, champion boxer and German national hero, makes a deal with Karl's father to give Karl boxing lessons, Karl sees it as the perfect chance to reinvent himself. A skilled cartoonist, Karl has never had an interest in boxing, but as Max becomes the mentor Karl never had, Karl soon finds both his boxing skills and his art flourishing.
But when Nazi violence against Jews escalates, Karl must take on a new role: protector of his family. Karl longs to ask his new mentor for help, but with Max's fame growing, he is forced to associate with Hitler and other Nazi elites, leaving Karl to wonder where his hero's sympathies truly lie. Can Karl balance his dream of boxing greatness with his obligation to keep his family out of harm's way?