Home > Intermediate Fiction, Senior Fiction > A Winters Day in 1939 by Melinda Szymanik

A Winters Day in 1939 by Melinda Szymanik

March 31, 2013

winters dayA Winters Day in 1939 by Melinda Szymanik. Pub. Scholastic, 2013.

In the 1970’s I met a Polish girl in my travels and she said in a conversation we New Zealanders didn’t know what suffering was. The more I read about Polish history the more I agree with her.

This family story by Melinda Szymanik tells the arduous journey of one family from Eastern Poland  through the now Islamic Republics of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to Tehran which was then in Persia.

The Russians confiscate the family farm and transport Adam, his family and 1000’s of other Poles around Russia until they find refuge at the end of 1942. The conditions in the freezing cold and insect ridden summers brought thousands of casualties. Only the really strong and lucky survived. Meanwhile the Nazis were committing serious atrocities in the rest of Poland.

A forgotten piece of history that should be remembered and this telling through the eyes of 12 year old Adam is gut wrenching yet uplifting. Simply told yet the issues are huge. Intermediate and high school.

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