Dear Peter, Dear Ulla

Author: Barbara Nickel
ISBN: 9781771872171 Categories: Fiction, Amish & Mennonite Tags: , ,
Publication Date: 15 October, 2021
Dimensions: 6 x 8.62"

Dear Peter, Dear Ulla is an imaginative and beautifully crafted historical middle-grade novel about two cousins who have never met but have become fast friends through an exchange of letters—until the outbreak of World War Two interrupts their conversation.


Ulla lives in Danzig, a city that has just been occupied by the Nazis, and Peter lives on a farm in a Mennonite community in Saskatchewan. What had been an easy and entertaining connection between Peter, a talented pianist, and Ulla, who is gifted at drawing, becomes fraught with unthinkable questions. Are they supposed to consider each other enemies now that Canada and Germany are at war? What makes a person your enemy? What makes a person your friend? Is violence ever a good solution to conflict?


Bruno, a bullying neighbour boy, wants Peter and other German-speaking Mennonite boys to be ready to fight Canadian schoolmates who may doubt their allegiance to Canada. Ulla is secretly aiding Erwina, a Polish friend severely burned after her home, the Polish Post Office, was attacked by the Nazis in one of the first battles of World War Two.


Unfolding in alternating chapters, the drama around these urgent situations will keep young readers enthralled through this deft weaving of complex cultural and moral issues, told here with energy, humour, and empathy.

About the Author

Barbara Nickel grew up in Saskatchewan and has taught Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. She has published acclaimed books for both adults and young people. Her children’s titles include Hannah Waters and the Daughter of Johann Sebastian Bach, which won a B.C. Book Prize and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award, as well as a picture book, A Boy Asked the Wind, which was a finalist for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award. Barbara lives in Yarrow, British Columbia, with her husband and two sons.


Dear Peter, Dear Ulla will fill the reader’s heart and emotional toolbox in the best ways, in the ways literature does. I’ll not use the word ‘should.’ This is not a didactic story. It’s a real and human story, and timeless.” —Alison Acheson, The British Columbia Review Read the full review here here.


WINNER: 2022 Children’s Book, High Plains Book Awards

Short-listed: 2022 Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People, CCBC Book Awards

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