TITLE = THE WRONG BOY
AUTHOR = SUZY ZAIL
GENRE = HOLOCAUST, WW2
INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 9, 10
A sensitive portrayal of the suffering of Jewish families during the Holocaust. Hanna has always dreamed of becoming a concert pianist but these dreams are shattered by the coming of the Nazi regime to Hungary. AS the story opens she and her family are being rounded up out of the ghetto where they have been forced to live and into concentration camps. The stress has taken its toll on their mother but Hanna and her brave sister, Erika, are determined to survive, so they can follow their father’s instructions to tell others about the horrors they have been forced to face.
Ultimately, it is Hanna’s musical talent that saves the day: she is selected to play for the Commandant and this earns her a warm coat, extra food and the enmity of others in her camp. Even Erika begins to wonder about Hanna’s Jewish faith when it appears that Hanna is falling in love with the Commandant’s son. Can this really be love or is it just gratitude .. and how can she have feelings for a Nazi son?
The ending may seem a little unlikely but the story as a whole is a compelling read for anyone wanting to know more about the Holocaust. The characters may be fictional but the events are described with the ring of truth.
A thought provoking novel, it was shortlisted for the 2013 Book of The Year (Older Readers).
Recommended (dma) ****
TITLE = PENNIES FROM HITLER
AUTHOR = JACKIE FRENCH
GENRE = WAR, WW2, PREJUDICE
INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 8,9
Jackie French describes this book as a companion novel to her earlier book “Hitler’s daughter”. Once again the horror of WW2 forms the background to this story and again an unusual perspective is provided in this new story. Georg is a German boy enjoying life with his parents until his English father’s Jewish background upends his life. This Jewish link is enough to destroy Georg’s world when he is forced to flee Nazi Germany and take refuge with his aunt in London.
But war follows him to the English shores. Whilst trying to pretend that he is an English boy (George rather than Georg) he and his aunt soon find themselves living through the frightening time of the Blitz, with daily air strikes from German planes that destroy London’s buildings and take the lives of their neighbours.
So Georg finds himself being sent off to Australia with a shipload of other children; torn away from their families in a desperate attempt to keep them safe. And so we follow George’s adventure with his new Aussie family, who themselves have a much loved son fighting in Africa. Can George maintain the deception that he is a British lad? And what will happen if his new family and friends learn the truth that the enemy is in fact, living in their midst.
A captivating story about prejudice, war and the power of friendship. No wonder this book was shortlisted for the 2012 CBCA Book of the Year (Younger Readers).
Recommended (dma) ****
Interest level:Yr 8 and over.
Author: Karen Levine.
Novel: Hana’s Suitcase.
Hana’s suitcase is a true story about a young woman, Fimuko, who wants to learn more about the Holocaust and teach the young children in Japan the horrors of war. When she finds Hana’s suitcase she goes on an epic adventure to find the girl, Hana. Along the way we start to learn about Hana’s story and how as a Jewish child the war affected her. This was the book that changed our lives as we learnt how horrible Hitler and the human race can really be. It shows good things like how when times get tough we need our family and friends and bad things like the horrors of what went on in World War 2. This book is a wonderful story about love, loss and how a little bit of determination is all we need. So if you ever think that your life is tough, pull out the story about a young girl whose life was so bad she lost everything all because some man hated Jews.
4 and 3/4 stars.
by Abbey.P. Jayde.D. Gina.T. Ashlee.B. and Bryce.D.