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Welcome to my blog! My name is Kim and I write young adult paranormal, mysteries, and thrillers. This blog enables me to share the two things I love: Books and the craft of writing.

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Unearthing Courage: "Code Name Kingfisher" and the Legacy of the Dutch Resistance

From the quiet corners of a grandmother's attic springs a tale of heroism and heartache that transcends time. Liz Kessler's "Code Name Kingfisher," published by Aladdin, weaves an unforgettable narrative connecting the past and present through the eyes of a young girl. As Liv uncovers her grandmother's role in the Dutch Resistance during World War II, readers are treated to a story that pulses with bravery, loss, and the enduring power of family. This book, generously provided for review by the publisher, also comes with an exciting book giveaway, making it an interesting addition to any young reader's shelf.

Book Code Name Kingfisher

Book Code Name Kingfisher

About the book:

Title: Code Name Kingfisher

Author: Liz Kessler

Publisher: Aladdin

Pub. Date: May 7, 2024

Formats: Paperback, Hardcover, eBook

Reading Ages: 8 - 12 year-olds

Pages: 335 pages

Buy Links: Amazon, Goodreads

Book Blurb:

A young girl learns of her grandmother and great-aunt’s involvement in the Dutch Resistance during World War II in this heartbreaking middle grade story of family, history, resilience, and hope from acclaimed author Liz Kessler.

Thirteen-year-old Liv’s beloved ninety-two-year-old grandmother, Oma, is moving into a home where she can be cared for as her dementia worsens. As Liv helps her father empty Oma’s house, she finds an old chest which opens up a whole world that Liv never knew about: the hidden world of Oma’s childhood.

Through the letters and other mementos, Liv learns that Oma, given name Mila, had a sister, Eva, that no one in Liv’s family ever knew about. In 1942, Mila and Eva are sent away from their parents to a non-Jewish family so they will survive the war. Twelve-year-old Mila believes that they will soon be reunited with their parents and go back to their normal lives, but fourteen-year-old Eva knows better, and soon gets involved in the Resistance. Eva takes on more and more dangerous assignments until a betrayal forces her to decide between running away with her sister or fully committing to mission. Tragedy strikes, and Mila goes to England on her own to restart her life from scratch, vowing never to talk about her childhood again.

In the present day, Liv reads how Mila builds something new from the shattered pieces of her childhood while giving beloved Oma all the support she can. Both Liv and Mila grapple with loyalty, family, and love as they discover what it means to be brave and go above and beyond to offer someone else a life of dignity, happiness, and freedom.


My Review


Liz Kessler's "Code Name Kingfisher" is a profound exploration of family ties, historical memory, and bravery that spans generations. Centered around a granddaughter's discovery of her grandmother's remarkable past, this middle-grade novel seamlessly intertwines a contemporary story of family love with the heartbreaking realities of World War II.

At the heart of the story is thirteen-year-old Liv, whose beloved Oma (grandmother) is battling dementia. When Oma moves into a care home, Liv helps her father clean out the house, where she stumbles upon an old chest filled with letters and mementos. This chest, once locked away, becomes the key that opens up a world of history and secrets, revealing the hidden story of Oma's childhood as Mila, a young girl whose life was forever changed by the war.

The narrative transports readers to the dark days of 1942, where we meet twelve-year-old Mila and her older sister Eva. Their parents, hoping to shield them from the terrors of the Nazi occupation, arrange for them to be taken in by a non-Jewish family. While Mila clings to the hope that they will soon reunite with their parents, Eva is more pragmatic, understanding the dangers they face. As Eva becomes involved in the Dutch Resistance, she takes on increasingly perilous tasks, ultimately facing a heart-wrenching choice that will define her legacy.

Kessler masterfully juxtaposes these two narratives, with Liv piecing together her grandmother's story while offering love and support during Oma's decline. The connection between Liv and Oma, between granddaughter and grandmother, is beautifully drawn, highlighting the strength and endurance of family bonds even through the darkest times. The revelations about Mila's childhood and her family's resilience provide Liv—and the reader—with a touching lesson in courage and sacrifice.

The characters in "Code Name Kingfisher" are unforgettable. Mila and Eva’s story is one of heroism in the face of adversity, and Liv’s journey of discovery showcases the importance of remembering history to shape a better future. Kessler’s writing shines with warmth and authenticity, making each character vivid and relatable. The historical backdrop of World War II, with its layers of danger, betrayal, and hope, is portrayed with sensitivity and depth, making the story both educational and emotionally resonant.

"Code Name Kingfisher" is a must-have for classroom and school libraries. Its compelling narrative not only brings history to life but also imparts timeless lessons on bravery, empathy, and the power of human connection. It's a book that will captivate readers of all ages, leaving them with a deep appreciation for those who faced unimaginable challenges to help others. Through Liv and Oma's bond, Kessler weaves a tale that is both a tribute to the past and a beacon for the future.


author of Code Name KingFisher
Liz Kessler

About the Author:

Liz Kessler grew up in Southport in the North West of England, and has lived in Manchester and Cheshire. She currently lives in St Ives, Cornwall. Liz Kessler studied English at Loughborough University, then did a teaching qualification at Keele University, and more recently did a Masters in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. She has worked as a teacher, teaching English and Media Studies, and has also run Creative Writing courses. Liz was also a journalist working on local and regional newspapers in both York and Manchester. Her children's books are written at a level suitable for schoolchildren in grades 4 to 7. She has written Young Adult books suitable for older audiences (12+), such as Haunt me that addresses topics of suicide and depression. Many of her books have been translated into German and her 2021 title When the World Was Ours was nominated for the 2023 Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis by the youth jury.

You can connect with Liz on her website, Instagram, Facebook, and X.


One (1) hardcover of Code Name Kingfisher by Liz Kessler. USA only. Ends June 30, 2024 Midnight EST.


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