I can't think of any other WWII books set in Italy except for Napoli's Stones in Water, so this is an excellent addition to books set in this time period. There is lots of good detail about what everyday life was like-- the food privations, living under the rule of invaders, and the dangers that ordinary citizens faced. There was a particularly good interchange between Costanza and a German guard posted in the area, Helmut. She rather liked him, and the two realized that if there were no war going on, they might have a chance; Helmut was a good person, but he was on the other side of a war. Paolo's contributions, as well as his bicycle, play a large part in the activities of his village. The only scary parts (because we do a unit on the Holocause and WWII, and there are always students who can't handle scary) are the Nazis rounding up villagers and threatening to execute some of there. I especially liked the chapter decorations and the cover of this-- very true to the time period.