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Mary Casanova - Books for Young People
The Klipfish Code
written by Mary Casanova
cover art by René Milot
Houghton Mifflin, August 2007
(HC) 978-0618883936
(PB) 978-0547744476
The Klipfish Code from Autographed books!
The Klipfish Code
Book Description:
The Klipfish Code by Mary Casanova (paperback cover)
Paperback cover

Marit Gundersen, and her brother, Lars, are sent to stay on a coastal island with grandparents, but Marit quickly learns that no place in Norway is safe. When the Nazis ordered teachers to indoctrinate their students in Nazi propaganda, the Norwegian teachers rallied together and refused.

The result is a little known and startling fact: 1 in 10 teachers were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. “All of my research left me with such awe and admiration,? Casanova recounted, “for the ordinary citizens who risked their lives to keep the hope of freedom alive. By stepping into the shoes of a 12-year old Norwegian girl, I was able to try on her deepest fears—and mine—to better imagine what life must have been like.?

Read Mary's "Birth of a Book" Blog entry to learn more about how this book was "born."

Scroll down this page to find the new 22-page teaching guide.

Listen to Mary read the first chapter of The Klipfish Code.

Video Book Trailer
Anna Zbacnik, Library Media Specialist, put together this great video book trailer for The Klipfish Code.
Blogger Buzz
Cynsations: “Guest Post: Mary Casanova on the Author-Illustrator Collaboration (Creating with Ard Hoyt--Again!)” (12/28/2011)
Research in Norway
Mary was fortunate to be able to travel to Norway to do some firsthand research into the history, culture, and geography of the islands that provide the backdrop for The Klipfish Code.

Take a look at the slideshow below to see some of the sights that Mary and her family found during their Norwegian adventure.

Fan Photos & Book Launch

Johanna Moe, who grew up in Norway during WWII, and who inspired some of the scenes in The Klipfish Code, along with Minnesota fans at a book launch with Mary

Mary with Carol Erdahl, co-owner of The Red Balloon Bookshop. Carol wore a traditional bunad as she introduced Mary to the crowd that gathered to hear Mary read from The Klipfish Code.

Awards & Reviews

2009 Rhode Island Children’s Book Award Master List
2008 Horace Mann Upstanders Honor Book
Minnesota's Maud Hart Lovelace master list (2014)



When German bombs shatter Marit’s peaceful village life in Norway, she and her family begin a long and harrowing wartime-occupation experience that will test their strength and courage. Mama and Papa slip away to work underground in the resistance movement as Marit and younger brother Lars are shipped off to a coastal island to live with grandfather Bestefar. Tensions rise when Bestefar mandates peaceful cooperation with the Nazis, while Marit and her plucky aunt Ingeborg look for ways to fight back. Opportunities abound, as when Marit stumbles upon a seriously wounded resistance fighter and, at grave risk to herself and her family, tries to keep him alive.

Evoking the grim reality of war and its effects on ordinary citizens, this suspenseful historical tale is also noteworthy for drawing attention to a region of Europe not commonly featured in children’s fiction about World War II. Casanova appends an enlightening author’s note, a glossary (with pronunciations) of foreign words, and suggestions for further reading about wartime Norway.

— Anne O'Malley

School Library Journal

Casanova spins an adventure-filled and harrowing story...another novel of heroism and perseverance.

Teaching Guide
Explore The Klipfish Code with a 22-page teaching guide. This guide covers a wide variety of supplementary information and activities for before, during, and after reading the book.

Click to download.
Acrobat PDF file. 432 Kb.

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