To The Boy in Berlin, by Elizabeth Honey & Heike Brandt

A postcard from Leo Schmidt?
I can’t believe it!
I’m trying to solve the mystery of a boy called Leopold Schmidt who migrated to Australia years ago. Leopold is long dead, but this new Leo is very much alive (and kicking).

When Henni leaves a note in a box of old books under a house, she doesn’t really expect it to be answered by someone living on the other side of the world. But in a curious set of coincidences, the note she left for anyone related to Leopold Schmidt was found by the uncle of thirteen year old Leo, who lives in Germany. Soon, Leo and Henni are exchanging emails, trying to unravel the mystery of Leopold. Then there are the dramas of their own lives, which they share with each other in a way more honest and intimate than if they lived in the same town.

To the Boy in Berlin is a funny, but also sad and insightful story, told from the dual perspectives of Henni and Leo, through their exchanged emails. Each character’s emails have actually been written by a different author, in an unusual collaboration between Australian author Elizabeth Honey and her German translator, Heike Brandt. The idea was developed long distance, but fleshed out when Brandt was able to visit Australia.

The character of Henni will be familiar to fans of Honey’s work, having earlier appeared in titles including The Ballad of Cauldron Bay and Fiddle Back. The addition of a second viewpoint character and the novelty of the email format will delight fans of the earlier books, but this new offering also stands alone.

Great reading for 10 to 14 year old readers.

To the Boy in Berlin

To The Boy In Berlin, by Elizabeth Honey and Heike Brandt
Allen & Unwin, 2007

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