Bartali’s Bicycle: The True Story of Gino Bartali, Italy’s Secret Hero by Megan Hoyt, illustrated by Iacopo Bruno

Published by Quill Tree Books

Bartali's Bicycle: The True Story of Gino Bartali, Italy's Secret Hero: Hoyt,  Megan, Bruno, Iacopo: 9780062908117: Amazon.com: Books
Bartali's Bicycle: The True Story of Gino Bartali, Italy's Secret Hero: Hoyt,  Megan, Bruno, Iacopo: 9780062908117: Amazon.com: Books

Summary:  Gino Bartali gained fame in Europe when he won the Tour de France in 1938.  So when Archbishop Elia Dalla Costa recruited him to help Jewish families escape the Nazis, Gino was ready.  He began cycling all over Italy, delivering fake identity papers to families in hiding.  He also used his fame by visiting train stations and distracting autograph-seeking soldiers while families destined for concentration camps were quickly rerouted onto other trains.  Forced into the Italian militia, he became a spy who helped rescue English P.O.W.’s.  After the war, he went on to win another Tour de France, but never talked about the more than 800 lives he had saved, stating that “Some medals are pinned to your soul, not your jacket.”  Includes a timeline, a letter from Bartali’s granddaughter Lisa, an author’s note, and a list of sources.  40 pages; grades 2-5.

Pros:  Another gripping story of a modest World War II hero that would pair nicely with Peter Sis’ Nicky and Vera.  The illustrations, which look like vintage posters, add a lot to the story. 

Cons:  There was very little information on Gino Bartali’s life before or after World War II.  Also no photos, so here’s one.

Gino Bartali | The Game of Their Lives - The Stories of Righteous Among the  Nations Who Devoted Their Lives to Sport | Yad Vashem

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