The Devil's Arithmetic
VHS Edition also available
In this novel, Yolen attempts to answer those who question why the Holocaust
should be remembered.
Hannah, 12, is tired of remembering, and is embarrassed by her grandfather, who rants and raves at the mention of the Nazis. Her mother's explanations of how her grandparents and great-aunt lost all family and friends during that time have little effect. Then, during a Passover Seder, Hannah is chosen to open the door to welcome the prophet Elijah. As she does so, she is transported to a village in Poland in the 1940s, where everyone thinks that she is Chaya, who has just recovered from a serious illness. She is captured by the Nazis and taken to a death camp, where she is befriended by a young girl named Rivka, who teaches her how to fight the dehumanizing processes of the camp and hold onto her identity. When at last their luck runs out and Rivka is chosen, Hannah/Chaya, in an almost impulsive act of self-sacrifice, goes in her stead. As the door to the gas chamber closes behind her, she is returned to the door of her grandparents' apartment, waiting for Elijah.
Through Hannah, with her memories of the present and the past, Yolen does a fine job of illustrating the importance of remembering. She adds much to children's understanding of the effects of the Holocaust, which will reverberate throughout history, today and tomorrow.
VHS Edition also available
Number the Stars
1990 Newbery Medal Winner
The evacuation of Jews from Nazi-held Denmark is one of the great untold stories of World War II. On September 29, 1943, word got out in Denmark that Jews were to be detained and then sent to the death camps. Within hours the Danish resistance, population and police arranged a small flotilla to herd 7,000 Jews to Sweden. Lois Lowry fictionalizes a true-story account to bring this courageous tale to life. She brings the experience to life through the eyes of 10-year-old Annemarie Johannesen, whose family harbors her best friend, Ellen Rosen, on the eve of the round-up and helps smuggles Ellen's family out of the country.
The latest in the Fairy Tales series begins with a provocative premise: retelling the story
of Sleeping Beauty as a Holocaust memoir. |
Rebecca Berlin (Becca), the sweet young heroine, fondly recalls the odd version of Sleeping Beauty that her grandmother (Gemma) often told her and her sisters. Although Gemma always identified strongly with Briar Rose, the sleeping princess, no one had thought it anything but a bedtime story -- but when a mysterious box of clippings and photos turns up after Gemma's death, hinting that the accepted version of Gemma's origins is untrue, Becca begins tracing the real story, which bears striking resemblances to Gemma's fairy tale. The trail finally leads Becca to the site of an extermination camp in Poland...
Behind the Bedroom Wall
Winner of the Milkweed Prize for Children's Literature
In World War II Germany, Korinna is thirteen years old and an ardent member of the Jungm„del, a Hitler youth group. Her belief that "Hitler is the most wonderful man" is reinforced by her school books, the youth group leaders, her friends, and the society around her. To be a "Jew-lover" is the worst accusation that can be made about a non-Jew. Witnessing a brutal arrest being made by a Gestapo officer who is the brother of her best friend Rita, Korinna suppresses any feelings of sympathy for the victim. When she discovers that her parents are hiding a Jewish woman and her five-year-old daughter Rachel in a small space behind the wardrobe in her bedroom, her world is shattered. Her first reaction is that she must report her parents as traitors even though she has been told that traitors are shot. Living with her secret, Korinna finds that pity for little Rachel begins to turn into affection. As the tension increases between her sense of duty to the Fuhrer and love for her parents, she begins to make mistakes, even allowing the overly zealous Rita to trap her into confiding that she sometimes feels sorry for Jews. The very next day, Korinna is ostracized at school, and one of her old friends whispers that her house will be raided that night. The Jewish family is safely sent on to the next hiding place; and when the Gestapo officers tear through the house and find the space behind the bedroom wall, Korinna has already transformed it into a little shrine to Hitler. With the brief reprieve that this ruse brings them, Korinna and her parents are able to escape. Somewhat superficial but easy to read and immediate in its assumption of Korinna's perspective, the novel gives fearful insight into the ways young minds can be molded to hate. It also offers a glimmer of hope that, in the darkest of times, there are some brave people who will risk their own lives to help others.
The Upstairs Room
When the German army occupied Holland, Annie de Leeuw was eight years
old. Because she was Jewish, the occupation put her in grave danger - she knew
that to stay alive she would have to hide. Fortunately, a Gentile family, the
Oostervelds, offered to help. For two years they hid Annie and her sister, Sini,
in the cramped upstairs room of their farmhouse.
Most people thought the war wouldn't last long. But for Annie and Sini - separated from their family and confined to one tiny room - the war seemed to go on forever.
The Journey Back
Holland, 1945 - World War II has finally ended. For thirteen-year-old Annie de Leeuw and her sister Sini, almost three years of hiding from the Germans in the upstairs room of a remote farmhouse have also ended. Saying good-bye to the courageous family who hid them is very difficult. And Annie finds that being home again isn't easy either. Her mother is dead; her father, distant and distracted. Sini is out dancing with the soldiers every night, trying to make up for lost time, and Annie's oldest sister, Rachel, has become a Christian. Soon Annie has another problem - getting used to a new stepmother she cannot seem to please. Annie learns that though the fighting is over, some of the wounds of the war still remain. Her old home is gone. Now she must build a new life for herself.
I Have Lived a Thousand Years :
Growing Up in the Holocaust
In a graphic present-tense narrative, this Holocaust memoir describes what happens to a
Jewish girl who is 13 when the Nazis invade Hungary in 1944. She tells of a year of roundups,
transports, selections, camps, torture, forced labor, and shootings, then of liberation and the
return of a few. For those who have read Leitner's stark The Big Lie, this is a much
more detailed account, with the same authority of a personal witness. Horrifying as her
experience is, she doesn't dwell on the atrocities. There is hope here. Unlike many adult
survivor stories, this does not show the victims losing their humanity. The teenager and her
mother help each other survive; they save each other from the gas chambers. Even in the
slaughter of the cattle trucks strafed by machine-gun fire, "words of comfort emerge from
every corner." The occasional overwriting about "drowning in a morass of pain and
helplessness" is unfortunate. The facts need no rhetoric. On every page they express her
intimate experience. After the war, the teenager finds her brother, hears how her father
died. She wonders whether she dare enjoy the luxury of being a girl, of "having hair." A
final brief chronology of the Holocaust adds to the value of this title for curriculum use
with older readers.
Born in a small farming town in Hungary, Bitton-Jackson was 13 when Nazis forced her and her family into a Jewish ghetto and then sent them to Auschwitz. After a yearful of innumerable harrowing experiences, she was liberated. While the facts alone command attention, Bitton-Jackson's supple and measured writing would compel the reader even if applied to a less momentous subject. She brings an artist's recall to childhood experiences, conveying them so as to stir fresh empathy in the target audience, even those well-versed in Holocaust literature. She relates, for example, how the yellow star made her feel marked and humiliated, reluctant to attend her school's graduation; how existence in the ghetto, paradoxically, made her happy to be Jewish for the first time in her life; how an aunt terrified the family by destroying their most valuable belongings before deportation, so that the Germans could not profit by them. Her descriptions of Auschwitz and labor camps are brutal, frank and terrifying, all the more so because she keeps her observations personal and immediate, avoiding the sweeping rhetoric that has, understandably, become a staple of much Holocaust testimony. Of particular interest is her relationship with her mother, who survived with her (in part because of the author's determination and bravery after an accident left her mother temporarily paralyzed). An exceptional story, exceptionally well told.
The Devil in Vienna
Inge Dornenwalk and Lieselotte Vessely are best friends, the kind of friends who
almost always know what the other is thinking. But now they are thirteen and it is
1937 in Vienna. Inge is Jewish, and Lieselotte, at the insistence of her Nazi father,
is in the Hitler Youth. Their friendship has become unwise, even dangerous, to sustain.
Yet in a world of increasing terror and despair, as the situation of Jews in Austria
becomes more and more desperate, Inge and Lieselotte secretly struggle against
"the Devil in Vienna" to keep their friendship alive.
Winner of Sydney Taylor Award (Association of Jewish Libraries)
His best friend thought Friedrich was lucky. His family had a good home
and enough money, and in Germany in the early 1930s, many were
unemployed. But when Hitler came to power, things began to change. Friedrich
was expelled from school, and then his mother died and his father was deported.
For Friedrich was Jewish.
Can Daniel survive history's deadliest moment?
Daniel barely remembers leading a normal life before the Nazis came to power in 1933. He can still picture once being happy and safe, but memories of those days are fading as he and his family face the dangers threatening Jews in Hitler's Germany in the late 1930s. No longer able to practice their religion, vote, own property, or even work, Daniel's family is forced from their home in Frankfurt and sent on a long and dangerous journey, first to the Lodz ghetto in Poland, and then to Auschwitz - the Nazi death camp. Though many around him lose hope in the face of such terror, Daniel, supported by his courageous family, struggles for survival. He finds hope, life, and even love in the midst of despair.
Although Daniel is a fictitious character, his story was inspired by the real experiences of many of the more than one million children who died in the Holocaust.
Daniel's Story was published in conjunction with an exhibit called "Daniel's Story: Remember the Children" at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
Stones in Water
This gripping, meticulously researched story (loosely based on the life of an actual survivor), set
in Europe during WWII, is told from the point of view of a Venetian boy forced into war against
his will. Roberto's quiet life as a gondolier's son ends abruptly the day he sneaks off to see a
movie with his older brother and two friends, Memo and Samuele. German soldiers raid the
theater and take the boys captive, and Roberto is immediately separated from his brother. Roberto
and his two friends are carted by train across the border and quickly learn that although the Germans
are allies, they consider the Italians dispensable (Nazi soldiers shoot three Italian boys on a train
platform). Roberto is concerned for his own safety, but he is even more fearful for his Jewish friend
Samuele (Roberto and Memo flank him when Samuele urinates, to hide his circumcision). When the
train finally halts, Roberto and Samuele manage to stay together, while Memo is sent to a different
camp. In the first half of the novel, Roberto describes the abominations he and Samuele both endure
and witness as they are sent from one work camp to the next. At one, the boys build a large pen that
the Germans later fill with Jews; horrified, Roberto puts himself at great risk to smuggle food daily
through the barbed wire to a starving girl and her sister. The second half recounts Roberto's lone
escape across Ukraine's barren landscape after Samuele dies fighting for a pair of German boots.
Napoli's graphic depiction of the boys' inhumane treatment counterpoints
their quiet nurturing of each other's spirits. Roberto gives half his food rations to Samuele (because
a boy who knows Samuele's secret is confiscating his food), and Samuele helps Roberto fall asleep
by telling him comforting stories from the Old Testament. Napoli portrays a war in which resisters
and deserters are the real heroes. In her choice of an innocent boy as first-person narrator, she
gently leads readers through a gradual unfolding of events until they come face-to-face with the
scope of the war's atrocities. Children will be riveted by Roberto's struggle to stay aliveand to
aid others along the wayagainst enormous odds. And adults may never view WWII the same
Winner of Sydney Taylor Award (Association of Jewish Libraries)
Twenty and Ten
During the German occupation of France, twenty French children were brought to a
refuge in the mountains. One day a young man came to their school with a request:
Could they take in, and hide, ten Jewish refugee children?
Sister Gabriel spoke up. "The Nazis are looking for those children. If we take them we must never let on that they are here. Do you understand?" Of course the children understood - but how would they hide them if the Nazis came?
In the Mouth of the Wolf
Caught in the Nazi trap in her native Poland, Rose Zar's father urged her to save
herself by hiding "in the mouth of the wolf" -- within the enemy herself. She
survived as a housekeeper for an SS commandant. A captivating tale for
Winner of Sydney Taylor Award (Association of Jewish Libraries)
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit
Anna was only nine years old in 1933, too busy with her school work and
friends to take much notice of Adolf Hitler's face glaring out of political
posters all over Berlin. Being Jewish, she thought, was just something you
were because your parents and grandparents were Jewish. But then one
day her father was unaccountably, frighteningly missing. Soon after, she and
her brother, Max, were hurried out of Germany by their mother with
alarming secrecy. Reunited in Switzerland, Anna and her family embark
on an adventure that would go on for years, in several different countries.
They learn many new things: new languages, how to cope with the wildest
confusions, and how to be poor. Anna soon discovers that there are special
skills to being a refugee. And as long as the family stayed together, that was
all that really mattered.
We follow Anna, her brother, and her father as they travel through Europe, living as refugees, staying a few steps ahead of the Nazis. Although When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit avoids most of the details of the actual Holocaust, it provides young readers with a gentle, yet important, introduction to a horrible chapter in world history.
The Christmas Menorahs : How a Town Fought Hate
By Janice Cohn
Based on a true incident that occurred in Billings, Montana, this story
begins when a rock is thrown through a boy's bedroom window in
which a menorah is displayed. The boy, Isaac, is frightened and unsure
whether he wants to put the menorah back. His parents call the police,
and his mother goes on television and to a meeting to talk about hate
crimes in the community. Inspired by stories of the Danish people
helping their Jewish neighbors during World War II, the people of
Billings put menorahs in their windows to take a stand against bigotry.
When a schoolmate supports Isaac, he takes his own stand by returning
the menorah to its place. Cohn deals with the issues in a way children
can readily understand.
Throughout the book, realistic, soft-focus oil paintings dramatize the
action and personalize the characters. A fine book for parents and
teachers who want to discuss prejudice and hate crimes with their
children, with background information provided in the introduction.
Shadow of the Wall
The inhumanity forced upon the Jews in Warsaw during World War II is wrenchingly told
through the fictional family of 13-year-old Misha Edelman, who, following his father's death,
feels responsible for his ailing mother and two younger sisters, Rachel and Elena. Living
in the Orphans' Home operated by the heroic "Mister Doctor'' Korczak, Misha risks his
life by smuggling to support those he loves. Death becomes a daily occurrence as the Nazis
deport thousands to the concentration camp at Treblinka. After his mother's death and having
smuggled Elena to the Aryan side of the wall, he increasingly seeks action, some way to
contribute to the growing resistance movement. In a scene that is appropriately
stomach-churning, Misha conquers his fears to escape through the sewers to the Aryan side
where he enters training with the resistance. Strong emotions are evoked, particularly when
Dr. Korczak and the orphans, including Rachel, are deported past the shop window in which
Misha works with the underground. While lacking the machine-gun impact of violent death
and horror that characterizes Aaron's Gideon (Lippincott, 1982), this book has a pathos
about it that will make it memorable to those readers sensitive enough to pursue its descriptions
of deprivation, hunger, and hope. A postscript details the facts upon which the book was
based, including information about the characters in the story who are based on real people.
Waiting for Anya
Like the acclaimed Number
the Stars, this well-plotted novel features a young Gentile hero
battling the Germans in their war against the Jews. As it opens, Jo is
guarding the sheep when his dog alerts him to a bear; Jo warns the
villagers in his small French town and they kill the hapless beast. The
theme here prefigures the more tragic hunt for human prey, while the
bear chase itself brings Jo into contact with Benjamin, the reclusive
Widow Horcada's Jewish son-in-law, who is hiding in her mountain
home. Separated from Anya, his daughter, Benjamin hides other
Jewish children and leads them to safety in nearby Spain. Jo is soon
enlisted, bringing supplies to the widow's house. Then the Germans
encamp in Jo's village, observing everyone and sealing the Spanish
border. Jo's concern for the Jews is measured against his reluctant
awareness that the German occupiers are not uniformly evil--in fact,
the villagers' relations with the Germans form the most distinctive
element of the story. Although some key elements are historically
improbable (chiefly, a German officer's partial rejection of Nazi
principles), the adventure of the Jews' escape into Spain is both
gripping and temperate.
An action-packed historical novel that takes place during World War II in Vichy, France. Young shepherd Jo discovers that Widow Horcada's son-in-law is hiding Jewish children at her farm and smuggling them over the border into Spain. A gripping, clearly written story, giving readers much to ponder.
To Cross a Line
During the final weeks of 1938, Kristallnacht echoes in the recent memory
of 17-year-old Egon Katz, a Jewish baker's apprentice. Delivering pastries
one rainy afternoon, Egon crashes his rickety scooter into a high-ranking
Nazi's car. Sentenced initially to pay a fine of 80 marks, Egon soon learns
that the Gestapo are pursuing him. He packs a few belongings and turns to
his extended family for help. In a story that becomes ever more suspenseful,
Egon encounters barriers in his increasingly desperate efforts to leave
Germany. His refined appearance denies him exit into Holland with a group
of Jewish men disguised as coal miners. However, through his brother's help,
Egon makes his way to the Danish border, where, again, he narrowly escapes
Ray uses Egon's memories as a device to tell a second story, that of Egon's family and his past. Skillfully layered through this thrilling, sparely written story of a teenager's struggle for survival are details of Jewish life and culture, as conducted in the face of Nazi persecution. As an account of an individual boy's experiences during the Holocaust's beginnings, the book effectively personalizes that time and place for young adult readers. In an afterword, Ray explains that her book fictionalizes her father-in-law's scooter accident and his subsequent escape from Hitler's Germany.
The Broken Mirror :
A Novella by Kirk Douglas
|A timeless tale of loss and faith recovered by actor/author Kirk Douglas. After World War II ends a Jewish boy whose family has been killed by the Nazis lies to his American liberators, telling them that he is a Gypsy rather than a Jew. Sent to a Catholic orphanage, Moishe runs away after his best friend there is adopted. When all seems utterly hopeless, Moishe finds solace in the light of the Sabbath candles and in his abandoned Judaism.|
North to Freedom
by Anne Holm
After escaping from an Eastern European concentration camp where he has
spent most of his life, a twelve-year-old boy struggles to cope with an entirely
strange world as he flees northward to freedom in Denmark.
A Pocket Full of Seeds
Nicole's parents, Jews in unoccupied France, decide to take a
chance and wait out the war. Then one awful day Nicole comes
home from school to find her entire family gone. The Nazis who
have taken them are still looking for her. Where can she hide?
"A significant addition to the collection of children's books dealing
with World War II."--The Boston Globe.
A Day of Pleasure :
Stories of a Boy Growing Up in Warsaw
by Isaac Bashevis Singer
Nobel Prize winner Isacc Bashevis Singer wrote both autobiographical and
fantasy tales for children which are deeply rooted in the lost cultural tradition
of his native Poland. This very special collection combines the stories he wrote
of his childhood with exuberant and timeless tales that can be included among
the world's great folk literature.
Hella Weiss, a 13-year-old Holocaust survivor, is working at an
infirmary in a displaced-persons camp. Even though her father's
whereabouts are unknown, she still holds onto the dream that he
is alive. When she mentions the name Hans Wilhelm Weiss to a
friend, a man sitting nearby claims to be her long-lost father. He
wants to take her out of the camp, but she has vague doubts since
he is cold and unloving. However, she was very young when he
was arrested and doesn't remember him well. Through a series of
incidents, Hella discovers that this man is actually a Nazi for whom
her father worked in a concentration camp. The action is fast paced
and nonstop, complete with danger and gun play. The factual content
is accurate. This period of time and the DP camps after the war are
not often treated in books for this audience.
In My Enemy's House
A gripping novel about the Holocaust, this is the story of
Marisa, a teen whose life changes dramatically when her
small Polish village is invaded by the Nazis and most of
her family is taken away. Because Marisa is blond and
blue eyed, she is able to hide her Jewish identity. After
several grueling experiences and with the help of some
fake documentation and language lessons, she is sent to
Germany and becomes a servant to Herr Reymann, a
high-ranking Nazi official. Marisa finds comfort and
affection in the family but is constantly aware of their
virulent anti-Semitism, ignorance, and prejudice. Marisa
knows she must keep her true identity secret at all costs
and struggles to retain a sense of identity, her faith, and
even her will to live. The novel allows readers to view the
war from multiple perspectives and adds many valuable
layers of insight. Although this is fiction, it has the immediacy
and impact of a true story. Marisa's ordeal is compelling,
moving-and deeply disturbing. Readers will end up
pondering the same complexities of human nature and
history that the protagonist does.
Hide and Seek
Rachel Hartog is only eight years old when the Nazis invade her
native Holland. Gradually her childhood is disfigured: sent to a
school for Jewish children only, forbidden to enter the parks or
use the swimming pool, stripped of her beloved bicycle, forced to
wear a yellow star, Rachel cannot understand the persecution of
her family and friends. Drawing on her own experiences during
WW II, Vos fills the narrative with understated but painfully
realistic moments: for example, Rachel falls and scrapes her knee;
a well-meaning stranger attempts to seat her on a public bench,
forbidden to Jews; terrified and desperate, she bites his hand.
The Hartogs then flee into hiding in a series of homes and are
given false names, and Rachel and her younger sister are
eventually separated from their parents. Although the feelings
of the hidden and their protectors lack the complexity that
Upstairs Room, Vos's novel deserves special attention
for its sensitive and deeply affecting consideration of life after liberation.
Horn Book Booklist Editors' Choice
Autobiography -- Not Fiction
Dancing on the Bridge of Avignon
and Seek, this story is based on Vos' own wartime experiences and those of other Jews
in the Netherlands during the dark days of the Nazi occupation. And like the first book, this
story, translated from the Dutch, is told in a series of present-tense vignettes from the point
of view of a child. Rosa, 10, dreams of the days before the war when she could still go to
school, walk in the park, ride public transportation, take violin lessons, own a bike. Now
she shakes when the doorbell rings: are the Nazis coming to take her and her family away?
This isn't as taut
and Seek; much of it reads like a docu-novel, with scenes and dialogue contrived to
give us the facts. What's riveting is the ending. Rosa's family seems to be offered a miraculous
chance to escape, only to be arrested and sent to the camps. Vos' epilogue explains that there
were such rumors of deliverance at the time, all of them false.
Holland in 1942 is not a safe place for Jews, yet the de Jong family does their best to live a normal life. ``Normal'' is a relative term, though, as 10-year-old Rosa is well aware. She loses classmates, teachers, and neighbors to concentration camps. She is teased and scorned by Nazi sympathizers. She helps make room for refugees, and suffers fear and uncertainty. Yet Rosa is still a ``normal'' child, surrounded by loving family and friends; she laughs, plays, pouts, gets into mischief, and experiences wonder, happiness, and hope. Her violin carries her through the story, and at book's end it saves her from certain death. This abrupt conclusion-which, despite an epilogue, leaves many questions unanswered-is Dancing on the Bridge of Avignon's only flaw. With most tales of Jews in World War II focused on hiding or concentration camps, its approach is unique. Vos's short, episodic chapters are well crafted; her writing is poignant in its understatement. Characterization is excellent-the best in Vos's books so far. This is a welcome addition to World War II novels and also gives a meaningful view of a family coping under immense stress.
Winner of The Sydney Taylor Award (The Association of Jewish Libraries)
Anna Is Still Here
Vos's autobiographical Hide
and Seek ranks among the best middle grade fiction about the Holocaust; this story,
a sequel of sorts, is even better. Anna, a Dutch Jewish girl, has survived the war in hiding.
She returns to school--a fifth-grader although she's 13--and is reunited with her parents,
who cannot yet bring themselves to tell her about their own ordeal (they spent years in a
forest, living below the ground). She knows a little about the concentration camps--enough
to be aware that her best friend has been murdered in one--and she struggles to
accommodate her knowledge, her sense of her parents' vulnerability, her own deeply
inculcated terrors and her eagerness to rejoin the world. Vos conveys Anna's
heartbreaking and heroic efforts with exemplary economy, and the anguish of Anna's
story is balanced by a subplot, however contrived, about another survivor being
reunited against all odds with her seven-year-old daughter. Vos looks beyond the
usual "happy'' ending of survivor stories, which typically conclude with liberation or
shortly thereafter, to pose more thoughtful questions about the price of survival; her
answers are hard-won and profoundly stirring.
David and Max
The underlying themes of this book are memory and the Holocaust. However, unlike
many recent books where the emphasis is on keeping the memory alive, this one has
as its key the fading memory of an old man. When David's grandfather, Max, thinks
that he has seen an old friend who was thought to have been killed during the war,
everyone except David thinks that the old man's mind is playing tricks on him. David is
convinced that Max is right, and he begins a quest to find Max' friend. He also, for the
first time in his life, begins to learn about the Holocaust, and about his grandfather's
experiences. This novel operates on many levels; the Holocaust is an obvious theme, but
the book also shows the close relationship between a young boy and his grandparents.
The Island on Bird Street
During World War II a Jewish boy is left on his own for months
in a ruined house in the Warsaw Ghetto, where he must learn all
the tricks of survival under constantly life-threatening conditions.
"More than just a valuable addition to Holocaust literature . . . it should garner a wide audience, which is exactly what its spirited portrait of hope and dauntless courage deserves."
The Night Crossing
This simple docu-novel about a Jewish child escaping
from the Nazis in 1938 introduces the Holocaust to young
readers. On the first page, Clara overhears her parents
whispering that they must leave their home in Innsbruck,
Austria, "before it is too late." Then we see why: Clara and
her older sister are chased home by a group of screaming
anti-Semitic kids, including her former best friend. All
around them, Jewish businesses are being vandalized, their
owners sent to camps, their homes burglarized. Clara's
parents sell their precious belongings and cut off their
yellow stars, and the family steals away in the night. Of
course, they are nearly caught, but they bribe and trick
and make it past the border guards and walk over the
mountains to Switzerland. There's little of the immediacy
and depth here of the best personal accounts for middle
readers, such as Ida Vos' Hide and Seek (1991)
or Isabella Leitner's Big Lie (1992); and the
massacre and brutality are only hinted at. Rather,
Ackerman's brief chapter-book, in large, clear type and
with illustrations (unseen in galley), gives younger kids a
first look at the essentials of what it was like to be an
ordinary child in danger at that terrible time.
The Hanukkah Ghosts
When Susan visits her aunt's house on the English moors, she encounters some mysterious people. But
even stranger, she comes across a barn full of horses--when her Aunt said there hadn't been horses on
the grounds in years--and a young girl who says she lived in the house during World War II to escape
Hitler's armies. The mysteries may be connected to the Hanukkah candles she and her aunt light each
night, and Susan soon learns the truth about Hanukkah--a time of miracles.
At the heart of this suspenseful time-slip fantasy set during Hanukkah is a young girl's growing awareness of her Jewish identity. When Susan is sent to England to spend the week with an elderly aunt, she feels as desolate as the gray moors surrounding the stone manor house. But as the Hanukkah candles flicker each night, she mysteriously meets the children who lived there during World War II. One is Hanni, a Jewish refugee; another is Alex, Aunt Elizabeth's prejudiced stepson. Penn strikes a good balance between the ordinary events of daylight and the extraordinary happenings at dusk. Although information about Hanukkah isn't always smoothly integrated into the narrative, it is a minor flaw. This has good style, a likable heroine, and an eerie atmosphere. When Susan is able to correct a terrible injustice that occurred 50 years earlier, she takes part in the miracle of the holiday season.
By Lynne Kositsky
Anya wishes she celebrated X-mas like her friends. Then she receives her grandmother's
treasured menorah as a Chanukah gift. As she lights each successive candle, Anya travels
back in time to Nazi Germany, and begins to understand she is not the first to face a dilemma
This was an excellent book. I started to read it, and once I started, could not put it down ... The surprise ending turns an otherwise somewhat predicatable book (though with interesting twists and turns) into, basically, one big surprise.
Along the Tracks
by Tamar Bergman
The author of The
Boy from Over There (1988) bases this story about a boy in the USSR during
WW II on the real experiences of a Polish family that later emigrated to Palestine. Told in the third
person from various points of view, the novel's first section describes Rosa and Yitzhak's desperate
flight from Lodz with their two children as the Nazis seal off the ghetto. They find a haven in the
Crimea until Hitler invades Russia; then Yitzhak joins the Russian army while Rosa and the children
again escape east. In the confusion of an air attack, Yankele, now eight, falls from their train and is
lost. During the next four years--as narrated by Yankele, now prudently known as Yasha--the boy
survives by stealing food, making fleeting alliances with other lost boys, snuggling into the "Black
Hotel'' (still-smoldering cinders piled by the railroads), and hopping trains whenever local merchants
begin to recognize him. Against all hope, the family is reunited at the war's end. Yankele's experiences
transform him from a trusting, dependent eight-year-old into a wily, self-reliant urchin who maintains
an inner core of innocence even though he finds it difficult, once it's no longer necessary, to break the
habit of thieving. Meanwhile, readers are exposed to a compellingly authentic picture of life in the likes
of Tashkent and Samarkand during the war--a cruel world where the state effectively abandoned
homeless children, but where some remnants of kindness and humanity survived. A gripping, evocative
story; the translation is excellent.
Escape to the Forest :
Based on a True Story of the Holocaust
by Ruth Yaffe Radin
When the Nazis invade Poland, nothing is safe anymore.
Ten-year-old Sarah and her family must leave their home and live in a
Jewish ghetto surrounded by barbed wire. There, life is a nightmare of
cold and hunger where Nazi soldiers kill Jews at will. But Sarah still hears
stories that give her hope—stories about a man who lives in the nearby
forest, fighting the Nazis and sheltering the Jews.
Sarah's brother thinks they should try to escape to the forest. Her parents
think they will be safer where they are. Sarah doesn't know who is right.
But as life in the ghetto grows worse and worse, the forest may be their
only hope. Based on a true story of life during the Holocaust, this is a
heartrending novel of one family's struggle to survive.
From Radin (All Joseph Wanted, 1991), a short, accessible novel that could serve as a introduction to the realities of the Holocaust. Sarah, a young Jewish girl, lives in eastern Poland, where the Russians have taken control of her town and imposed harsh restrictions. The family must celebrate Hanukkah in secret; Lili, a girl from western Poland whom the family shelters, is arrested. Eventually Lili is released, but when the Germans attack they force the family into a small ghetto. Jews are being murdered in the streets, and Sarah's brother, David, knows that a family, the Bielskis, have escaped into the forest. Sarah's mother, believing that life in the forest would be worse, refuses to leave the ghetto even after the family survives a selection by the Germans. When ordered onto a train that will take them to Treblinka, her father tells Sarah to leave; she must find the Bielskis in the forest in order to survive. The fact that this is a true story lends the narrative further immediacy and suspense. Compelling reading for the young.
Thanks to My Mother
Susie Weksler was only eight in 1941 when Hitler's forces
invaded her Lithuanian city of Vilnius, a great center for Jewish
learning and culture. Soon her family would face hunger and
fear in the Jewish ghetto - but worse was to come. When the
ghetto was liquidated, some Jews were selected for forced
labor camps; the rest were killed. Susie would live - because
of the courage and ingenuity of her mother. It was her mother
who carried Susie, hidden in a backpack, to the group destined
for the labor camps; who disguised her as an adult in makeup
and turban to fool the camp guards; who fed her body and
soul through gruesome conditions in three concentration camps
and a winter "death march"; who showed her the power of the
human spirit to endure.
Autobiography (NOT fiction)
Lena Katz is a Jewish girl growing up in Germany in the period between the two
world wars. After Poland reclaims the German province in which her family lives,
anti-Semitic activity becomes more blatant. Lena's mother believes that things will
get better and resists all attempts by her extended family to get her to move to
Germany. Many of Lena's Jewish friends, including romantic interest Janusz, are
attracted to the new Zionist movement, and Lena is caught in the middle of a difficult
dilemma: remain with her war-widowed mother or flee to Palestine.
The novel's suspenseful ending is rendered more powerful by the knowledge that most readers will bring to it: many Jews who did not leave Europe did not survive World War II. The book is most successful at making real the ways in which Lena's life is affected by racial hatred. For example, her mother's previously successful shoe store is unable to compete with stores owned by non-Jews after suppliers will no longer provide her with shoes and customers are too intimidated to shop there. Libraries may want to purchase this for its unique historical perspective. An afterword supplies factual details about the destruction Hitler wrought in Europe.
Mystery in Miami Beach :
A Vivi Hartman Mystery
Vivi Hartman, a rabbi's daughter, visits her grandmother in Florida during her
winter break. While on the plane, she reads a front-page Miami Herald story
about an Israeli tourist attacked by a gang. The woman is her grandmother's
friend, also visiting in Gram's apartment. In quick succession, Vivi meets a teenaged
boy and begins to notice that a rash of red birds, umbrellas, tall men with British
accents, and other suspicious characters seem to be popping up everywhere. This
is a fast-paced mystery, the premise of which is rooted during the Holocaust --
specifically with the ship St. Louis, which was not allowed to land in either Cuba
or Miami in 1939. The ship returned to Europe, where most of the 907 Jewish
passengers died. Hebrew terms and Jewish customs are woven seamlessly into
the story; indeed, much of this information is crucial to the plot, and all of it adds
depth. If Vivi remembers to utilize pilpul -- rabbinical logic -- to solve the ensuing
mysteries, she could be a modern-day Sherlock Holmes who also happens to be
a nice, bright American Jewish girl.
Alan and Naomi
|In New York of the 1940's a boy tries to befriend a girl traumatized by Nazi brutality in France.|
Child of the Warsaw Ghetto
Adler and Ritz use a picture-book biography to personalize what
happened to millions of Jews under the Nazis. This is the story of
Froim Baum, a Holocaust survivor now living in the U.S., who was
born to a poor Jewish family in Warsaw in 1926. With the boy's
personal biography, Adler weaves together the history of Hitler's
rise to power, the Nazi invasion of Poland, the raging anti-Semitism,
the herding of more than 400,000 Jews into the walled Warsaw
ghetto, and, finally, the death camps. Froim found shelter in the
orphanage of the beloved Janusz Korczak and moved between
there and home. The story is told with restraint, never exploitative,
never sweet. Overwhelmingly, what we see is that this child
survived by a mixture of cunning, courage, and sheer accident.
The realistic pictures are grim, increasingly brown and gray as the
genocide crowds out the light. Several illustrations evoke the
photos of the time: the beggars in the street; the skeletal people
piled on bunks. There's a lot of history compressed here -- some
of it may be too much for kids to understand on their own -- but
this one child's story is a compelling way to focus group discussion
on how the unimaginable happened and why.
A picture book for somewhat older readers relates the experiences of a Jewish boy growing up in Poland during World War II. Froim Baum smuggles food from outside the walls of the Warsaw ghetto and eventually survives a succession of concentration camps, although most of his family does not. The dark, solemn illustrations and understated text add a quiet dignity to the account.
A Frost in the Night :
by Edith Baer
It is Germany in 1932, and Hitler is rising to power. This critical place and time in modern history is poignantly re-created through the observations of a young Jewish girl named Eva, who is caught up in the sense of dread shared by the adults around her. Edith Baer has written a novel distilled from memory, love, loss, and sorrow which depicts a girl's impressions of a nation beginning to destroy itself and an entire way of life.
This story is about a Jewish child growing up in Germany as the Nazis come to power. Although it's a novel, it's so realistically written that my first reaction to the end was to say, "But what happened to her?" Eva's world of school, friends, and family is falling apart even as her parents and grandparents try to believe that everything will turn out for the best. But try as they might, they can't shield Eva from childish slights by Christians, teachers, or old "friends" suddenly won over by Hitler's promises. The end comes after a bout of measles, when the news reaches her that Hitler has been elected Chancellor of Germany. The story continues in Walk the Dark Streets.
Walk the Dark Streets :
by Edith Baer
A girl's escape from Nazi Germany.
The city Eva Bentheim once adored is no longer familiar. A swastika is emblazoned on the flag
atop the City Hall. Teachers, family, and friends are beginning to disappear. Her father seems
gone in a different way; he has become ill, fragile, and despondent as the Nazis gain power.
When things get worse, Eva's mother desperately tries to obtain the proper papers for her
family to leave the country. Then a horrible night of roundups occurs and Eva's father is taken
away. A nocturnal search begins for someone who can help release him from the city jail. Eva's
boyfriend, Arno, may have a way to save her father from deportation, but it soon becomes clear
that their struggles have just begun. Exquisitely felt and written, Walk the Dark Streets resonates
with the indomitability of the human spirit even as a loving family's attempts to stay together grow
more and more hopeless.
With this haunting, painful sequel to her elegiac autobiographical novel A Frost in the Night, Baer ushers her heroine, the German-Jewish girl Eva Bentheim, through the rise of the Reich, from l933 to l940. Eva's age is not given; even as she is a distinct, lifelike character, she represents an innocence lost to her elders and to her country. As the novel begins, she emerges from a lengthy illness at the same time that Germany succumbs to Hitler. The climate steadily darkens: first some of her classmates show up in Hitler Youth uniforms; Social Democrat and Catholic teachers are fired; a friend's father, a journalist, is severely beaten. Restrictions multiply, but are lifted just as the l936 Olympics invite the world's attention. Friends and relatives make plans to leave, at increasingly desperate costs (one of Eva's aunts, for example, marries a virtual stranger, because he is Dutch and can offer her a home in Holland). Eva's father can see what lies in store, but he is too ill to escape - although he is offered sponsorship by an American citizen, he knows he will fail the physical at the consulate, and he and Eva's mother decide that Eva must leave by herself. Baer shows how the network of fear slowly tightens - how apparently innocent acts, like walking down the street with a long-time friend, can suddenly become fatally dangerous. Readers who know the history will find the tension almost unbearable, especially in such passages as those describing the days before Kristallnacht. But virtually no reader will be able to turn away from this implacably paced, resoundingly authentic study in tragedy.
A Different Kind of Courage
A real World War II rescue journey is the background for this novel about two children, Bertrand
and Zina, escaping from different parts of France in 1940 to safety in the U.S. They eventually
meet on a train hurtling them across Europe, and they help each other grope toward acceptance.
Howard captures with extraordinary power is the children's sense of abandonment at being sent
away by their parents, even to safety. Zina is so terrified and isolated that she stops speaking.
The families aren't idyllic to begin with, and the children's displacement gets mixed up with
feelings of jealousy, rejection, guilt (is it because I was bad?), anger, and sorrow. With fine
restraint, Howard takes us right into the child refugee's consciousness, and we recognize how
the separation from home may be as traumatic as the bombs of war.
Greater Than Angels
by Carol Matas
Set in Vichy, France, this novel covers a section of Europe often overlooked in
Holocaust literature. Anna, 13, along with her mother, her aunt, and grandmother,
are deported from Germany to Gurs, a refugee camp on the French-Spanish border.
The details of the journey and the terrible conditions there are vividly and realistically
described. Anna's grandmother dies and the girl's mother and aunt are eventually
removed to a concentration camp and never heard from again. Relief workers
arrange for Anna and some of the other young people to be sent to the village of
Le Chambon where French citizens take them in and allow them to live with some
semblance of normalcy. Anna is a strong young woman with a flair for acting and
singing and a penchant for telling corny jokes. She and her friends spend long hours
discussing the "why" of what is happening to the Jews of Europe, trying to understand
a universe in which such evil could exist. A budding romance between Anna and Rudi,
a childhood friend, gives a little extra zest to the plot. The French gendarmes who are
collaborating with the Nazis provide a sharp contrast to the actions of the local people,
who literally risk their lives to help the Jewish children. A map clearly shows the areas
where the story takes place. In an afterword, Matas tells of interviews she had with
survivors who spent the war years in Le Chambon. This well-researched historical
novel will make a good addition to middle-school collections.
Matas (Daniel's Story) again returns to the Holocaust as the setting for this sturdy if earthbound work. Her topic this time is the tiny French village of Le Chambon, famous for offering help to all of the approximately 2500 Jews who sought refuge there during WWII. Matas's heroine, young Anna Hirsch, remains plucky when she, her mother, aunt and elderly grandmother are deported from their home in Germany in 1940 and sent to France (she tells jokes on the train). They are sent to the detention camp at Gurs; Anna, unbowed by the wretched conditions, helps arrange concerts, learns some French and has theological debates with her friends. The story picks up when Anna is sent to Le Chambon and the emphasis shifts from Anna's indomitable spirit to well-researched descriptions of the villagers' resistance, under the leadership of the pastors Andr Trocm and Eduoard Theis. Anna, too, becomes involved with the resistance, helping deliver false identification papers. Suspense grows as Anna and a younger girl hide in the woods after news of an impending raid reaches Le Chambon, and the danger culminates in an attempt to lead the younger girl and a boy into Switzerland. Although Matas neglects to explain what happened to Trocm and Theis after her story ends (Milton Meltzer's book Rescue will prove a useful companion), she offers an inspiring and memorable lesson in courage.
When the Soldiers Were Gone
An account of a boy's readjustment after World War II in Holland. Eight-year-old
Henk is stunned when he discovers that the family he has been living with are not his
blood relatives. After being reunited with his biological parents, who are Jewish,
Henk learns that his name is really Benjamin Van Sorg and that he was sent to
live with a Christian family during the war. As he slowly adjusts to his new life
and identity, memories from his early childhood gradually return, including the
yellow star on his coat and a frightening encounter with a Nazi soldier. At the end
of the book, when he and his parents return to their house, the place seems
familiar and welcoming, and he finally feels that he is home. Propp's use of simple
language helps the story flow smoothly. The author creates and sustains a mood
that coincides with the readjustment phase that takes place after a trauma.
Historical facts are successfully integrated into the narrative, and Henk's
first-person telling makes the effects of the war tangible to readers. When
the Soldiers Were Gone rates highly among other stories about the period.
The Key Is Lost
By Ida Vos
Like the classic
and Seek (1991), this Holocaust survivor story is based on Vos' own experience
as a child in hiding during the Nazi occupation of Holland. The immediate, present-tense narrative tells it
from the child's bewildered viewpoint as she and her sister are separated from their parents and forced
from one secret hideout to another. They must change their names and deny who they are. Always they
depend on the kindness of strangers, who risk their own lives, even starve themselves, to save the
children. The ending is happy but still realistic: the children are reunited with their parents after the war,
yet the celebration is muted by the loss of all those relatives and friends who have not come back. This
is a good book to introduce the Holocaust to middle-grade readers, who will identify with the terror in
the home, but will not be ready to confront the violent details of the genocide. Connect this with escape
stories of the Underground Railroad.
"Dogs and Jews not admitted." Watts was one of the 10,000 Jewish children
who were sent from Nazi Europe to Britain in the Kindertransport rescue
operation in 1938; her moving autobiographical novel personalizes what it
was like to be a Jewish child in Berlin at the time. Marianne Kohn, 11, is
locked out of her Berlin school; synagogues and Jewish shops are looted and
burned; her father is in hiding; the streets are loud with violence and marching
Nazi youth. As the violence gets closer and Marianne must hole up in her
apartment, she fiercely resists her mother's decision to send her away. Olga
Drucker's Kindertransport (1992) and Dorith Sim's picture
My Pocket (1997) tell of the children's leaving and their journey to foster homes. Here
the focus is on the racist persecution that drove parents to send their children
away to safety. The mother is idealized, but her heartbreaking letter to
Marianne ("One day you will understand why I had to let you go") is as
unforgettable as their anguished parting.
The Good Liar By Gregory Maguire
Hoping for a good grade on their World War II project, three Florida girls write a letter of
questions to Marcel Delarue, an artist who grew up in occupied France. In reply, he sends a
long letter that becomes the text of this first-person novel. After he sketches in the background
(a village in the middle of France), and the central characters (Marcel, his two brothers, and
their mother), their story begins to unfold. The framework of the letters gradually disappears
from readers' consciousness as Marcel's childhood observations and experiences become
increasingly compelling. The three brothers are convincingly imperfect in their actions, childlike
in their attitudes, and human in their reactions to events and emotions. Marcel's innocent, often
silly lies and escapades are eventually shadowed by the realization of certain misunderstood
conversations and events that add up to a larger lie. Marcel's mother finally lets him in on the
secret to keep him from unwittingly revealing it: for more than a year, a Jewish woman and her
daughter have been hiding in a secret crawl space in their home, coming out only at night when
the children are asleep. Quietly told, this absorbing story carries the conviction of memoir rather
than invention. Another memorable story of World War II.
Three girls doing a school assignment on World War II write a letter to an artist they've seen on TV when they learn he grew up in the Loire Valley of France during the war. Marcel Delarue responds to their questions by telling his family's story, which is the basis of this novel. Marcel, his two brothers, and his mother lead ordinary rural lives, enlivened by the boys' favorite game-telling outrageous lies. The German occupation has only a minimal impact on them, at least at first. The major disruption for them is the arrival of their Uncle Anton and two of his friends. Madame Cauverian and her daughter are Jews who are trying to get out of the country, but are delayed by the girl's illness. While nothing overt has yet happened to France's Jewish population, the woman is convinced they are in danger. When a rabbi and his followers are rounded up, this fear is confirmed. Later, when Marcel and his brother Ren are told that the guests have left, their mother makes a scene in the local market, storming at the soldiers about taking them away, when in reality she is hiding them. In the meantime, the boys have secretly befriended a German soldier. The lies mount up, until finally the best liar of all is revealed. The strength of this book is its portrayal of the quiet heroism of ordinary citizens during the war. It is, by turns, amusing and gripping, and told in an engaging manner
The Lady with the Hat
Yulek is a Polish Jew who survived the Holocaust. Returning to his hometown after the war,
he soon realizes that there's no room in Poland for him, and he decides to go to Palestine.
Meanwhile his aunt Malka, who moved to England years ago is now Melanie, Lady Faulkner.
She has seen a picture of a group of Jewish Displaced Persons and has recognized Yulek. It
is his resemblance to his father, her brother that catches her attention. The struggle to get to
Palestine makes up the major part of the story. Yulek grapples with Poles, Italians, and the
British Army. Melanie's struggles with the British Army are made easier by her husband's
position. She knows who Yulek is, but will he accept her? Yulek's need for love and family
are almost overwhelming. A fascinating story for ages 12 up.
In The Children We Remember, Chana Byers Abells recounts that
some Jewish children survived the Holocaust "rescued by Christian families"
or "pretend[ing] to be non-Jews." Eight-year-old Katarina of Slovakia is
such a child. Orphaned Katar¡na has been lovingly raised by her aunt Lena.
Despite their lack of religiosity, they are Jewish, and Aunt Lena worries
about their survival. When Katarina's first-person account of her ordeal
opens, she is feigning scarlet fever - her quarantine buys them some
precious time to plot their escape. At their new home, a young maid,
believing Katarina a heathen, schools the child in the history of saints;
Katarina's whole-hearted embrace of Catholicism turns out to be an asset
when Lena sends her away as a Christian orphan. Katarina is delighted to
not wear the Star of David (all she "knew about being Jewish was to be
ashamed"), but despite Katarina's prayers to the Holy Mother, she is
exposed as a Jew and sent away again. The author captures the near-madness
of the child as she roams the countryside hungry and alone, distrustful of
everyone. Her final war home, a Protestant orphan-age, confounds Katarina:
a Jew by birth and a devout, practicing Catholic with her secret rosary and
picture cards of the saints, she must now reveal neither identity. Winter
documents Katarina's confusion not only about her religion but also about
her homeland: how can one be a good Slovak and still wish the enemies of
one's country to win the war? A year after the liberation, Katarina returns to
her village certain of her reunion with her aunt. There is no joyful meeting;
Katarina's village has been decimated. Katarina's joy, Winter reminds us,
rests in her memories of those she loved; it is those memories replayed with
which the novel concludes.
Astonishing for its uncanny grace and dexterity in handling harrowing subject matter ... First-rate fiction, it marks the author as someone to watch
She offers richly detailed memories and asks the reader to serve as witness to the events these memories recount.
The Secret of Gabi's Dresser
Combining heart-pounding drama with an engrossing tale of love and support, this i
s an enthralling work of historical fiction for readers over eight. The story begins
in 1999 with three children questioning their grandmother about a treasured cabinet
in her dining room. In response, she recounts how as a young Jewish girl she lived
on a family farm in Eastern Europe during the Second World War. She describes her
community before the Nazi occupation and the events that unfolded afterwards. When
the Nazis conducted house searches for Jewish children, Gabi's mother successfully
hid her in her dining-room dresser. The only thing retrieved from the family home
after the war was the dresser that saved Gabi's life.
The Grey Striped Shirt :
How Grandma and Grandpa Survived the Holocaust
While visiting her grandparents, Frannie discovers an old striped
shirt, and eventually musters up the courage to ask why her
grandmother has saved this ugly garment. Slowly, over a period of
years, her grandparents share with her their experiences during the
Holocaust. What makes this title different from others is that Frannie
asks the question, "'Why didn't the Jews fight back? Why didn't
they do something to keep the Nazis from killing them?'" Some of
the acts of the resistance movements are explained, but Grandma
states the most meaningful act of all, "'We fought the Nazis by
staying alive.'" And it is up to Frannie to tell their story and keep it
alive. The dedication of the grandparents to celebrating life is evident
not only in their love for their grandchild, but also in their beautiful
garden. This is a moving book, just perfect for those too old for David
Number on My Grandfather's Arm, and not quite ready for Lois Lowry's
the Stars. It is amply
illustrated with full-page black-and-white pictures that capture the
moods and emotions of the text.
But Can the Phoenix Sing?
Thrilling action and complex moral issues combine in a
Holocaust survivor story, a sequel to Shadow of
the Wall (1990). Misha Edelman, now settled in
England, remembers his teenage experience after he
escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto: first he was a partisan
fighter in the Polish forest in 1942; then he returned to
Warsaw as an underground courier for the resistance;
he spent several months as a prisoner of the Germans
(always hiding his Jewish identity); finally he came to
England. Misha tells his story in a long letter to his stepson,
Richard, and Richard's occasional notes to his girlfriend
add a contemporary commentary; but the framework
becomes too heavy, especially when Richard reveals his
involvement in a recent anti-Semitic high-school prank.
What's splendid about this story is the account of the
partisans. The writing is intense as Misha remembers the
courage and terror of the forest action and then his
loneliness and grief, his guilt at having survived his family
and the young woman he loved. Teens will be held by
Misha's haunting discovery that cruelty and tenderness
can co-exist "not just in one culture or country . . . but in
one person even."
A school project prompts Clarissa to ask her Australian grandmother about her
memories of childhood. Nan relates her memories of growing up in England
during World War II and especially her friendship with Rebecca, a Jewish
refugee whose parents and brother are still in Germany. At first Sally (Nan)
almost envies Rebecca since she is staying with the wealthy Mrs. Trevelyan
and has many advantages, but she gradually realizes the pain and fear for her
family Rebecca is suffering. The war years pass, the girls grow, and a few
incidents stand out: the bullying by some boys, the billeting of Sally's bombed
out grandfather in the same estate with Rebecca, Rebecca's outburst when the
class is told they will study The Merchant of Venice . At war's end, the only
member of Rebecca's family to survive is her brother, Helmut. Clarissa then
realizes that Helmut is her grandfather, rounding the story to a satisfying conclusion.
Chanan and His Violin and Other Stories
Venture behind the walls of the Warsaw ghetto and bear
witness to the legendary spirit and defiance of the young
Chanan and his violin.
Summer of My German Soldier
When her small hometown in Arkansas becomes the site of a camp housing German
prisoners during World War II, 12-year-old Patty Bergen learns what it means to
open her heart. Although she's Jewish, she begins to see a prison escapee, Anton,
not as a Nazi--but as a lonely, frightened young man with feelings not unlike her own,
who understands and appreciates her in a way her parents never will. And Patty is
willing to risk losing family, friends--even her freedom--for what has quickly become
the most important part of her life. Thoughtful, moving, and hard-hitting, Summer
of My German Soldier has become a modern classic.
Morning Is a Long Time Coming
Graduating from Jenkinsville High School marks a new beginning for Patty Bergen. It's
been a long time since she's been called a "Jew Nazi lover," but before she can face her
future, she must come to terms with her past. For although Anton, the escaped German
POW whom Patty sheltered when she was a twelve-year-old girl, has been dead for six
years, her feelings for him will not die.
Driven by a need to find the love her parents denied her, Patty decides to go to Germany in search of Anton's mother, desperate for a connection to the man she loved and lost. En route to her destination, she stops in Paris, where she meets Roger. The encounter makes Patty think twice about her plan--not only because of what she might find, but because of what she must leave behind....
The Sequel to Summer of My German Soldier
David and Jonathan
A sweeping novel about pain, healing, and enduring friendship. Henry
and Jonathan have been best friends since fifth grade, but that changes
when Jonathan's cousin David, a Holocaust survivor, comes to live
with the family. As David and Jonathan spend more time together,
Henry struggles with his own jealousy and confusion.