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Summer of My German Soldier (Puffin Modern Classics) Paperback – April 20, 2006

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Editorial Reviews


Courageous and compelling! -- Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Bette Greene's first novel, Summer of My German Soldier, hailed as "an exceptionally fine novel" by the New York Times, has become a modern classic. Published in 1973, this beloved book has inspired an Emmy Award#150;winning television film and a recent stage musical. The first book in the Philip Hall series, Philip Hall Likes Me. I Reckon Maybe., was a 1975 Newbery Honor Book and a 1974 New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year. Born in a small Arkansas town, Bette Greene has lived in Memphis, Tennessee, Paris, France, and New York City. She now lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Series: Puffin Modern Classics
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books; Reissue edition (April 20, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142406511
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142406519
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bette Greene's award-winning classic novels will be celebrating 40 years in print!

As an award-winning author, screenwriter and news reporter, Bette Greene is read worldwide in over 16 languages. Bette continues her legacy of writing and speaking for the victimized. Within the heartbeat of her storytelling and the realism of her prose lies Bette's demand that her readers feel what she feels and sees what she sees, taking us beyond our differences.

As the 20th century's youngest professional news reporter, Bette published her first news story at age eight. Bette Greene's first book, "Summer of My German Soldier", won the first "Golden Kite" award. This same novel outsold Prince Charles' book in his own country.

Bette Greene holds the honor of being the only author included in "Writers of Holocaust Literature", without having been a victim of the Holocaust.

As a 21st century master author, Bette Greene uses the social media platforms to reach out and touch her readers, Gen-X, Y and Z. According to critics, Bette Greene has given a voice to the voiceless, changing the course of young adults' literature in America.

For nearly 40 years, Bette Greene's books have been banned, censored and challenged. The theme of Bette Greene's award-winning library is always the same - Bullying!


* Summer of My German Soldier: Golden Kite Society Children's Book Writer's Award, New York Times Outstanding Book Award, ALA Notable Book Award, National Book Award Finalist, Massachusetts Children's Book Award.
* Them That Glitter and Them that Don't: Parent's Choice Award, Parent's Choice Foundation.

*Philip Hall Likes Me, I Reckon Maybe: New York Times Outstanding Book Award,
New York Times Outstanding Title Award, ALA Notable Children's Book Award, Child Study Association Children's Book Award, Kirkus Choice Award, Newbery Honor Award.

* Summer of My German Soldier, The Film: Emmy-Award & Humanitas Prize Award film promoting human dignity, meaning and freedom

Bette Greene's literary library includes: "Get On Out Of Here Philip Hall", "I've Already Forgotten Your Name, Philip Hall!", "The Drowning Of Stephan Jones".



Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Gift Card on May 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this book when I was in the 7 th grade. I must have read it a dozen times. Then one day I was sitting down thinking of books that have made an impact on my life. I tried to describe the book to anyone who would listen, but no one could help me remember the name. Finally, I sat back and thought about it, I said to self, well it was about a little girl and a German boy. Finally it came to me. Summer of My German Soldier. I could not download fast enough. For some reason I thought the book was longer and much more intense, but then I was only 11 when I first read it, and everything seems more dramatic when you are young.

I am so glad I downloaded and read it again. I have so many highlights in this short novel. I will keep this on my kindle forever and will revisit Patti, Ruth and her horrible parents again in a few years. This is in my opinion a wonderful book to give to a young person, no matter their gender. And now at 52 it might not be the book I remember as a child but the message is still the same. 4 stars!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Kat on January 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Patty Bergen is the eldest daughter of the Bergen family, who run the department store in the small town of Jenkinsville, Arkansas. For reasons known only to themselves, the Bergen's' treat Patty as more of a nuisance than a daughter, bestowing all their love and affection on their younger daughter, Sharon. Patty isn't the most popular girl in town, and being Jewish sets her even further apart from her peers. After watching German prisoners of war being transported to the nearby POW camp, a chance meeting with one young soldier sets the scene for Patty's story.

Summer of My German Soldier explores themes of 1940's America and the effect of the war on ordinary Americans who, naturally, view the Germans as the enemy and have no tolerance, nor understanding for young soldiers who have ended up in a country where they do not speak the language, far from their homes.

Although I enjoyed the story, I was slightly disappointed with the ending, which was quite abrupt. I would also have liked to know more about what happened to Patty and some more insight into her family and the reasons behind their behaviour.

Written simplistically, yet emotionally it is hard not to feel sympathy for Patty and the situations in which she finds herself. It is also hard not to like Patty, who despite her difficult family life dreams of a future where she can be free and independent, at a time when children were expected to be seen and not heard. Shocking in parts and touching in others, Summer of My German Soldier is a book in which most of us could find things in common with our younger selves.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
The most exiting event in the history of Jenkinsville occurred that summer day when a Prisoner of War camp was set up just outside the city. The Nazi's that had been depicted as evil people that would kill someone as soon as they looked at them turned out to be young, kind-faced men with blond hair. Patty Bergen was Jewish and her father owned a department sore on the main street of the town. One day she was in the store when the prisoners with money in hand came to buy hats for work in the field. Patty went to help one of the prisoners whose name was Frederick Anton Reiker and discovered that instead of wanting to buy a hat with his money he wanted to buy a pen with fake diamonds on it. Not long after their first meeting, Anton escaped from the prison camp and fled but before he caught the back of a departing train, Patty saw him and invited him to stay in the room over the garage until the war was over. But, one day Anton saw Patty being beaten and he ran out to stop the attack, but Ruth, the housekeeper saw him rush out from the garage. Even though Ruth would not tell a soul about it Anton decided it was too much of a risk on Patty's part and he left that same night. After Anton had been gone for months a man named Mr. Pierce asked Patty a fair amount of questions and after hearing that Anton had died she let everything out. After that she had to go and live with her grandmother for a while until the time of the trial. The judge sentenced her to no less than four months in a reformatory for girls and there she stayed for the time. I enjoyed this book because of how the story of how it was depicted.

I thought this novel was quite engaging because of how Patty changed over time. At the beginning of the story Patty is reckless and had low self-esteem.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sian Greening on June 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I first read this book as a teenager (many years ago now) and I was pleased to see it available in Kindle. After re-reading it, I fouhnd it as fresh today as it was 30 years ago. I have passed it on to my own teenage daughter and she also loved it. The heroine, an awkward and unattractive young teenage girl, is a misfit in her small town, disliked within her own emotionally cruel and repressed family. Perhaps it is only her own loneliness and vulnerability that lead her to conceal and aid an escaped prisoner of war, a young German soldier. I don't think these were her only motivations, though. I think the author managed to convey that Patty had a capacity to see the German soldier as a human being (unlike the bigoted reactions of others), and her willingness to risk her own life to save him brings to life the old adage about beauty being from within. The ending is very tragic (and I did warn my daughter of this before advising she read it) but at the same time it is very real, especially in the context of social mores and beliefs of that time. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed "The catcher in the rye" as capturing nearly perfectly the angst of the unpopular and disliked teenager.
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