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Posts Tagged ‘The Holocaust’

The Length of a String by Elissa Brent Weissman.

June 13, 2020 Comments off

length stringThe Length of a String by Elissa Brent Weissman. Pub. Puffin Books, 2020.

This novel for middle and senior school students is one of the most moving, emotional and compelling novels I have ever read.

Anna is 12 years old when the Germans invaded Luxembourg in 1941 and started identifying all the Jews with the yellow star and stripping them of any human dignity. In August 1941 it was still possible for Jewish people to escape Luxembourg to Portugal and get a ship to America but it was dangerous and expensive.

Anna leaves her twin sister Belle, plus the the rest of the family, at the insistence of her parents and goes to live with Hannah and Max in Brooklyn New York. Anna keeps a diary of her feelings addressed to her twin sister Belle and writes letters to her family. She gets no reply but remains positive about life and seeing them again.

In today’s World, Imani is 12 years old and facing her Bat Mitzvah. She is a black girl who has been adopted by Nordic parents in New York and has been brought up Jewish along with her also adopted brother Jaime. Imani wants to know who her parents were but finds it difficult to bring this fact up with her adoptive parents who have been loving and caring all her life.

When Anna dies she leaves her books to her grandchildren and Imani finds the diary Anna wrote in 1941 and reads it as part of her presentation for her Bat Mitzvah. What she and her friend Madeleine read brings out all the emotion and reality of the Holocaust.

Beautifully written with Anna’s diary entries and Imani’s life in the modern World. It will have you in tears.  It is also current as Imani tries to find her own identity as a black girl living in today’s world.

If you miss this you will kick yourself. Wow! What an ending.

After by Morris Gleitzman

July 17, 2012 Comments off

After by Morris Gleitzman. Pub. Viking, 2012 

If you have a pile of books to read and one of them is by Morris Gleitzman, then read that one first, you will not be disappointed.

This fourth part in the story of young  Jewish boy Felix during World War is just brilliant and in time sequence it slots in between second book Then and third book Now. It is a gap that had to be filled as it tells what happened to Felix in the last years of the war as the Nazis aredefeated and the Concentration camps are opened up.

Felix is being hidden down a hole on the farm of Gabriek at the end of Then. Gabriek leaves to join the Partisans who are living in the forests of Poland. Felix and the horse Dom follow Gabriek and become involved with the partisans who are conducting a guerilla war against the nazis.

As the war ends Felix finds himself in charge of a group of children from all sides and we see the hatred dissapate as a new world is about to begin.

The star of the show once again is Gleitztman’s easy style of short sentences and first person narration by Felix. He puts the reader in the action and personalises the Holocaust in the simplest way for children to read. Gleitzman also creates humour amongst the horror with his matter of fact narration, home spun philosophy and his boyish way of looking at life.

Felix is forever hopeful and mankind would do well to learn from him. Just brilliant.

Intermediate and high school in appeal.