Hero on a Bicycle
Publisher: Walker Books
It's 1944 and Florence is occupied by Nazi German forces. Under cover of night, Paolo creeps from his bed and sets out in secret to explore the streets of the city on his beloved bicycle, longing for adventure and wishing he could do something to help the brave Partisans - the members of the Italian Resistance hiding in the hills, waiting for the moment when the Allies will arrive to liberate the city. But when the Partisans enlist his family's help to get two escaped Allied prisoners to safety, Paolo and his older sister Constanza find themselves playing a very dangerous game - as the Allies come ever closer to Florence, can they be daring enough to outwit the Gestapo?
The first novel from much-loved author and illustrator Shirley Hughes is a thrilling and moving story with a touch of romance, set against a dramatic background of war-torn Italy. Based on Hughes' own experience of visiting Florence not long after the Second World War, it is a warm, tender tale of courage against the odds, which deals frankly with the brutality of war, yet maintains a distinctive sensitivity and lightness of touch. Beautifully presented in a deliberately retro, nostalgic style, it also features Hughes' familiar black and white illustrations.
An accompanying website www.heroonabicycle.co.uk provides further historical and background information, including period photographs, videos and music, as well as interviews and sketches from the author.