“I love talking to school kids about this book. I’ll ask them, ‘How many want to read a book about an opera singer?’ They just stare at me. Of course they don’t, being 13 or so. I say, ‘well come on a 16-year-old opera singer is pretty interesting’. They all kind of shake their heads at me. Then I tell them she was captured by the Nazis. You don’t really get the feeling that they were rounding up the opera singers. They say ‘why did they capture her when she was an opera singer?’ It’s because she was a spy. One word changes the whole story. Any time I say that to a group of students, they all get very excited about reading a book about an opera singer that was a spy.
“What I find so amazing about Suzanne is that at age 16 when she agreed to be a spy, she knew fully what it was she was agreeing to. She really understood how very slim the odds of her coming through the war were, and accepted that. I think that is an amazing thing to do at any age, but especially at that age.
“I think probably the reason I am so proud of that book, is that I am really pleased we got that story done while we still could. Tina’s own family didn’t know the story because Suzanne (Tina’s mother) wouldn’t talk about what had happened to her. I’m glad I had the chance to share her story.”
Kimberly Brubaker Bradley's latest picture book, Ballerino Nate, is published by Dial. To find out more about Ms. Bradley's books, visit her website.