The Underground Reporters

The Underground Reporters


By Kathy Kacer


A group of young Jewish friends create a newspaper during WWII to keep their spirits and hopes alive.

In Budejovice, a quiet village in Czechoslovakia, laws and rules were introduced to restrict the freedom of Jewish people during the dark days of World War II. A small plot of land by the river was allocated to the village's Jewish youth. While almost all other areas of the village were off limits to the children, here they were able to meet and play.

A small shack on this land became the community center - a place to escape from persecution and discrimination. And it was here that some brave young people decided to create a newspaper, a magazine that would prove to themselves and their community that they were still creative, energetic, and adventurous. The magazine, Klepy (which means Gossip), was born on August 30, 1940, and over the following two years, twenty-two issues were created and circulated. The magazine included simple type-written stories, elaborate paintings, and editorials, all created in the midst of war.

John Freund was one of the young "reporters" who contributed to the magazine. In April 1942, John and the other one thousand Jews of Budejovice were deported to the ghetto, Terezin. Most of these deportees were immediately sent on to Auschwitz and to their deaths. John was among a handful of Budejovic Jews who survived the war. He currently lives in Toronto. Remarkably, copies of Klepy also survived.

The Underground Reporters chronicles the lives of the young people who contributed to the newspaper. The story is full of adventure, mystery and excitement. With drawings, poems, stories and jokes, The Underground Reporters looks at life with as much optimism as possible, providing hope for a peaceful world to come.

A Holocaust Remembrance Book for Young Readers

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About the Author

Kathy Kacer’s books have won a number of awards, including the Silver Birch, the Red Maple, the Hackmatack, and the National Jewish Book Award. A former psychologist, Kathy now travels the globe speaking to children and adults about the importance of keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive. Kathy lives in Toronto with her family.

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Product Information

  • Release: October 1, 2011

  • $15.95 Paperback

  • 160 Pages

  • 7.5 x 9

  • Children’s Nonfiction

  • Ages 9-13 / Grades 4-8

  • Guided Reading: Z

  • ISBN: 9781896764856


  • Character Education
    > Prejudice & Tolerance

  • Language Arts
    > Biography

  • History & Social Studies
    > War & Conflict

  • Holocaust Studies



Awards for The Underground Reporters

  • 2007 Red Cedar Book Award Finalist (B.C.'s Young Readers' Choice Awards)

  • 2006 Rocky Mountain Book Award Finalist (Alberta's Children's Choice Awards)

  • 2005 Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction Nominee

  • 2005 Sydney Taylor Book Awards - Honorable Mention

Praise for The Underground Reporters

"Copies of the original editions and black-and-white photos salvaged from the war add to this incredible piece of Holocaust history." - Kirkus Reviews

"Kacer's taut recounting of the grim background story highlights the brave gallantry of the children." - City Parent

"The book can also be an inspiration for children about how the human spirit can triumph over adversity." - CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"The simple yet poignant style holds your attention." - Association of Jewish Libraries Reviews

"We need a book like this that reminds us there is always hope and the human spirit will always survive." - Lethbridge Herald

"Readers will gain knowledge of the events that occurred during the beginning of World War II through the eyes of ordinary people." - Resource Links

"The Underground Reporters is an amazing story about survival, rather than death." - Jewish Independent

"Kacer makes these children come alive, leading her readers into the story as if it were a novel, while commemorating the lives of the kids." - Toronto Star

"The undying spirit of the Jewish people during those dreadful times is emphasized, and descriptions of life in the camps are excellent." - VOYA Magazine

"This story is well-written and interesting, and meets the equity test." - ETFO Voice (Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario)

"Interspersed with black-and-white photographs, stories and artwork from the newspapers is a riveting story of courage. " -Jewish Book World