Download Hero on a Bicycle Audiobook

Hero on a Bicycle Audiobook, by Shirley Hughes Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Shirley Hughes Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2013 ISBN: 9781469275475
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Florence, Italy, 1944: The city is under heavy Nazi occupation, but for thirteen-year-old Paolo, war is a long and boring wait. Too young to fight for the resistance, yet desperate for action and adventure, he sneaks out each night to ride his bicycle along the darkened city streets. For Paolo, the risk is thrilling.

But when he is accosted by Partisans—covert members of the anti-Nazi movement—thrilling quickly becomes dangerous as Paolo and his family are thrust into a terrifying and impossible situation. Finally at the center of the action, Paolo must figure out once and for all whether he has what it takes to truly be a hero.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Vividly evoking the closing-in conflict, with tanks rumbling along a nearby road, zooming fighter planes, and relentless shellfire, Hughes ratchets up the tension…Huge as the war is, this story is an intimate one—centering on the courageous actions of one Italian family as the conflict arrives at their doorstep, forcing them to grapple with the harsh complexities of good and evil. The actions of secondary characters like a young German officer, a careless wealthy friend, and the brother of a loyal family servant reinforce Hughes’ clear desire for her young readers to understand that those on either side can have a myriad of honorable and dishonorable reasons for their behavior.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Hughes expertly captures the tension in the Crivelli home, as Rosemary tries to raise her two children and keep them safe while covertly supporting the Partisan cause…A superb historical thriller.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “The Italian setting is vibrantly presented, and Hughes creates both a memorable cast and a palpable sense of danger at a critical juncture of the war.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Thirteen-year-old hero Paolo and his family star in a tale both exciting and thoughtful. (It turns out that his indispensable bicycle and beloved dog Guido are heroes, too.)…Each character has complex motivations and emotions—readers will discover that few are completely good or evil, even in wartime. From a rather expository beginning, Hughes raises the tension, the stakes, and the horrors of war to a triumphant climax and an ending offering relief and hope for the future—creating as well a poignant coming-of-age story for both Paolo and Constanza.”

    Children’s Literature

  • Hero on a Bicycle is a wartime adventure that will appeal to many late elementary and middle school readers, especially boys who enjoy reading about war and danger. There is much to be learned about the day-to-day existence of those who lived in occupied areas during World War II, and it shows how young people can be empowered, albeit in this case while in serious danger…Learning history and what happens to Paolo will keep war buffs turning the pages.”

    VOYA

  • “For thirteen-year-old Paolo Crivelli, the excitement of planning secret nightly trips into Florence balances the boredom and stress of living under Nazi occupation in a war-torn village outside the city…In this engrossing story, Hughes combines a riveting plot line with multidimensional characters. It also provides youngsters with some understanding of the choices and conditions faced by people in Europe during World War II.”

    School Library Journal (starred review)

  • “For thirteen-year-old Paolo Crivelli, the excitement of planning secret nightly trips into Florence balances the boredom and stress of living under Nazi occupation in a war-torn village outside the city…In this engrossing story, Hughes combines a riveting plotline with multidimensional characters. It also provides youngsters with some understanding of the choices and conditions faced by people in Europe during World War II.”

    School Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Simon Vance’s incomparable vocal style is a perfect fit for this intense and suspenseful work of historical fiction. With his strong and consistently paced narration, as well as subtle and skillful character voices, Vance’s performance is both nuanced and captivating. A website, www.heroonabicycle.co.uk, offers additional material to supplement lesson plans or deepen book discussions. For those interested in offering students more in-depth information about the time period, other supplemental sources would be required. Highly recommended for students who enjoyed John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and historical or WWII fiction.”

    School Library Journal (starred audio review)

  • “As WWII rages around a family in Florence, Paolo, a young teen, finds himself helping the Allies with his trusty bike. The story, which blends a coming-of-age theme with wartime suspense, is perfect for listening because of narrator Simon Vance. There are almost as many accents as there are characters, and Vance nails them all. He does a fine job with Italian civilians like the Crivelli family and the people they come across during the war, in particular an injured Canadian and a sympathetic German. Vance gives all the characters consistent voices throughout.”

    AudioFile

  • A New York Times Book Review Notable Book for Children for 2013

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About the Author

Shirley Hughes has won many prestigious awards, including the Kate Greenaway Medal. She began to write and design her own picture books when she had a young family and has now published more than two hundred titles. Hero on a Bicycle, written in her eighth decade, is her first novel. She lives in London.

About the Narrator

Simon Vance (a.k.a. Robert Whitfield) is an award-winning actor and narrator. He has earned more than fifty Earphones Awards and won the prestigious Audie Award for best narration thirteen times. He was named Booklist’s very first Voice of Choice in 2008 and has been named an AudioFile Golden Voice as well as an AudioFile Best Voice of 2009. He has narrated more than eight hundred audiobooks over almost thirty years, beginning when he was a radio newsreader for the BBC in London. He is also an actor who has appeared on both stage and television.