Els is a courier, a girl who takes Jewish children on the back of her bike to safety on farms in Friesland. When she leaves Isaak, disguised as Jan, at a farmhouse with kind people, he is miserable until he makes friends with a beautiful black horse, Hero, a Frisian wanted by the Germans. The first time the Germans come for the horse, Isaak comes up with a plan to save him, but the second time they come, Isaak can do nothing to protect the animal he loves.
Hero is Martha Attema's second Young Reader about World War II. Her first was Daughter of Light (Orca, 2001). Hero was a real stallion owned by Martha's great uncle and stolen by the Germans just as the war was ending. A boy from the farm went with the horse and managed to escape and bring Hero home. In Hero, truth becomes powerful fiction. Martha's next project involves building instead of writing. She and her husband are building a straw bale house, which will be both their home and an educational site.