5th Grade Novel Units


Behind the Bedroom Wall is a 1996 Young Adult historical fiction novel by Korean American author Laura E. Williams. The novel won the 1997 Jane Addams’ Children’s Book Award. Williams has written several other novels, including The Mystic Lighthouse series, Up a Creek, The Ghost Stallion, The Executioner’s Daughter, The Can Man, and Unexpected.




Set in 1942 Germany, Behind the Bedroom Wall follows a 13-year-old Aryan German girl named Korinna Rehme, who is an active member of her local Nazi youth group, or jungmädel. When Adolf Hitler mandates a program to deal with the “Jewish Problem,” Korinna willingly goes along in the belief that she’s helping her country, even if it produces violence in the streets.


However, Korinna learns that her parents are part of an underground organization that helps Jews find safe passage out of Nazi Germany to escape persecution. Korinna is appalled to learn that her parents have been secretly harboring a refugee family behind her bedroom wall. As Korinna comes to know the family and learns about their strife, however, she begins to open her heart, find sympathy, and act with a newfound sense of morality. The novel’s themes explore trust and deception in a country divided by suspicion, the insidious effect of propaganda, and the importance of compassion.

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