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The Last Hawk

Written by Elizabeth Wein

Key Stage 4 Family / Home Stories Historical Fiction Thrillers

LoveReading View on The Last Hawk

Female-fronted WWII aviation thriller about devastating decisions and doing the right thing

Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8

A life-changing opportunity for a teenage pilot brings risk and excruciating choices in this accessible WWII thriller from the author of Firebird and White Eagles.


Ingrid was six when the Nazis came to power and, since she has a severe stutter, her mother and father feared a new law ordering the sterilisation of less able children would apply to her. With her parents desperate to prove their daughter has worth, and since she’s a talented glider pilot who dreams of being like her heroine, the intrepid test pilot Hanna Reitsch, Ingrid attends her Cousin Jonni’s flying school. Though she’s confident in the air, Ingrid seems forever doomed to plummet back to earth, not least when she’s castigated for her behaviour in front of a high-ranking regional Nazi leader. “Your daughter is a disgrace to Germany,” he informs her horrified father. Terrified she might be taken to a camp, at seventeen she becomes Cousin Jonni’s junior flying instructor, and her heart soars when none other than Hanna Reitsch enlists her assistance on a propaganda tour. But when Hanna reveals shocking truths about a secret mission, Ingrid is left feeling that “there was an ugly crack in the shiny glass of my new Luftwaffe career” as she faces a seemingly impossible decision.


Alongside the gripping action and emotion of Ingrid’s tumultuous journey (readers will be on the edge of their seats as her allegiances are tested to the max), the author provides fascinating insights into life in Germany during the war, and this accessible novella will also prompt discussion around roles women worked in during WWI, and the ethics of patriotism.

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Joanne Owen

More About This Book

Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers.  Here on LoveReading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category.

Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.

The Last Hawk Synopsis

Nazi Germany is a dangerous place for a girl with a stammer - and although her father tries to keep her safe, Ingrid can't help feeling like she's let him down. But in the air, soaring high as she pilots her beloved glider planes, Ingrid is free and incredibly talented.

When she gets the chance to fly in a propaganda tour alongside her hero, Germany's daring female test pilot Hanna Reitsch, Ingrid leaps at the chance. But through Hanna, she will learn some dangerous truths about Germany's secret missions and the plans that could change the course of the war to secure victory for the Nazi regime. When everything is at stake, Ingrid must decide where her loyalties lie ...

Critically acclaimed Elizabeth Wein returns with a thrilling, female-led aviation adventure set against the backdrop of Hitler’s Germany and the last days of the Nazi regime. Weaving together fact and fiction, Wein shines a spotlight on women’s roles in war and the little known stories of this often studied period of history

Book Information

ISBN: 9781781129555
Publication date: 4th March 2021
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Publisher: Barrington Stoke Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 136 pages
Year Groups: Key Stage 4
Topics: Family / Home Stories, Historical Fiction, Thrillers

About Elizabeth Wein

Elizabeth Wein was born in New York, and grew up in England, Jamaica and Pennsylvania. She is married with two children and now lives in Perth, Scotland. Elizabeth is a member of the Ninety-Nines, the International Organization of Women Pilots. She was awarded the Scottish Aero Club's Watson Cup for best student pilot in 2003 and it was her love of flying that partly inspired the idea for Code Name Verity. Photo Credit David Ho 2018

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