The Winged Watchman takes place in Holland during the years of 1944 and 1945 when the sufferings of the Dutch people had grown desperate after four years of Nazi occupation. Like the best of historical fiction, The Winged Watchman tells an engaging story while effortlessly immersing the reader in the life of its characters. Middle school readers will learn about Holland - a land that lies close to the sea - and the importance of its system of dikes and polders and windmills. They are let in on the secrets of brave resistance fighters with their disguises, risks, and underground communications. They will commiserate with and come to understand the yearning of ten year old Joris Verhagen and his fourteen year old brother, Dirk Jan, to help and to fight.
The Germans take the best of everything - men, crops, pets -- inflicting misery at every turn. Neighbors become spies for the enemy and friends are carted away to prison camps. Life in occupied Holland is bleak, but the tale is uplifting -- even fun: a page turner in which we watch the boys and their family outwit the Germans and help neighbor and stranger alike. Here is a story of patriotism where faith and family sustain the people and virtue, ingenuity and hard work are the resources they use to persevere.
Margaret Hannon is a homeschooling mother. She and her husband live in Bolton, MA with five of their eight children.
This article is published by Margaret Hannon and MercatorNet under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation. Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on this site are published under different terms.