Dietrich Bonhoeffer: The Teacher Who Became a Spy

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


Dietrich Bonhoeffer: The Teacher Who Became a Spy (Here I Am Series #1)


Written by Molly Frye Wilmington, illustrated by Marcin Piwowarski


B &H Kids (B&H Publishing Group)

Publication Date:

April 14, 2023


Hardcover (board book)


32 pages


Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s work as a Christian teacher, German resistance agent, and collaborator in a Hitler assassination plot, have made him a revered Christian hero. However, like many World War II history figures, his story isn’t well-known outside certain circles. This picture book covers his story—from his birth in a nominally Christian family to his conversion to his choice to join the German resistance to his execution in 1945. Throughout the story, a talking dog named Shep the Sheepdog points out historical details that readers may miss, adding a treasure hunt element to the story.

Bonhoeffer’s many complexities—from his surprising romance with a woman half his age to his challenging final writings about the church’s future—mean there are many things to say about him. Not surprisingly, this book for young readers emphasizes the most exciting elements (the spy work, the relatives sending coded messages to him in prison). It would be interesting to see families read this book, then later give their teenage children the much longer graphic novel The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler to get a broader picture of World War II and what Bonhoeffer wrote during the war years.

Granting that this book has to focus on one side of Bonhoeffer’s life, it handles its chosen focus well. It makes its emphasis clear, but never focuses so much on telling an adventure story that it forgets to cover the main points of Bonhoeffer’s life. Shep the sheepdog and his notes to readers add some humor and exploration to the reading experience.

An educational yet exciting book for helping young readers learn about an important historic Christian figure.


Rating (1 to 5 stars):

4 stars

Suggested Audience:

Children grades 1-3 (ages 6-8)

Christian Impact:

The story challenges readers to consider what it means to serve God in challenging circumstances.

NOTE: ECLA readers who enjoy this book may also enjoy the following:


Dietrich Bonhoeffer: The Teacher Who Became a Spy (Here I Am! biography series)

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