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Good Night, Maman Paperback – April 12, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Young readers who have loved and mourned Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl may take solace in the more hopeful ending of Good Night, Maman, Norma Fox Mazer's tender story of a brother and sister's escape from the Holocaust. Like all Jews in France during World War II, Karin and her older brother Marc are on the run from the Nazis. At first the siblings and their strong and gentle mother hide for more than a year in a tiny storage closet in a neighbor's house. But when the Jew Searches are intensified, they must leave, traveling on foot and only at night. At last Karin and Marc are lucky enough to find places on a ship bound for the United States, but Maman is too ill for the journey and must stay behind. At the refugee camp in Oswego, New York, Karin takes comfort in writing unmailed letter after letter to her mother, as she and Marc struggle to adjust to a new country, a new language, and each other's changing needs. Marc finally reveals that Maman is dead, a sad fact he has kept to himself to shelter his sister--to allow her to increase her own strength with the support of her mother's remembered presence.

Mazer based her novel on historical fact--the camp at Fort Ontario in Oswego was the only official shelter offered to European Jews by the United States. For a contrasting treatment of this same setting, teens will want to read Two Suns in the Sky, by Miriam Bat-Ami. (Ages 10 to 14) --Patty Campbell --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

This story of a WWII French-Jewish refugee suggests the grimness of the era without becoming too formidable for young readers to ingest. Indicating, but not dwelling upon her heroine's suffering, Mazer (When She Was Good) traces the 12-year-old's arduous journey to freedom. The Nazis have sent Karin's father to Poland, and the rest of the family lives in hiding in a French woman's attic. Soon, however, the arrangement becomes too dangerous and Karin, her older brother and their mother are forced to flee south. Maman falls ill and is unable to complete the journey; the children regretfully continue on their own, eventually gaining passage on a ship to America. The second half of the novel takes place in the same refugee camp in Oswego, N.Y., that served as the setting for Miriam Bat-Ami's Two Suns in the Sky (Children's Forecasts, May 17). While Bat-Ami's portrayal of the refugee camp has more depth, Mazer's writing is more fluid. Karin and her brother, Marc, struggle to overcome homesickness and begin a new life. Karin gradually lets go of the past, finally realizing that she will never see her beloved Maman again. The issues are somewhat neatened for the sake of young readers; this story may serve as an introduction to the Holocaust and its effect on survivors, but doesn't have the impact of other titles in this genre. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (April 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152061738
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152061739
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

NORMA FOX MAZER is the award-winning author of many novels for young people. She has been honored with the Christopher Award, a Newbery Honor, the Edgar Allen Poe Award, and a National Book Award nomination. She and her husband, novelist Harry Mazer, divide their time between Jamesville, New York, and New York City.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
Books are very important to me. I love to read them and unleash their knowledge. I especially like fiction books on olden times. From the Holocaust, the Civil War, and subjects like that. They teach me about life before me, and high and low points of history. One example of these books is one that I just finished reading entitled, Good Night Maman. The book is a Holocaust story, and I enjoyed it a lot. It was a great book, and I really enjoyed the time period story line and characters of this story.
One reason that I really enjoyed the time period of this book is because I think the Holocaust is very interesting to learn about. It shows, and teaches me how awful those years were, and how brave the Jewish people were to have the will to survive those dark years. Secondly, in the book, I was taught things that I never knew happened in the Holocaust. Never was I aware that people escaped Europe on boats to come and be safe in American refugee camps. Finally, this book taught me to always respect your family. The main character in the book had her brother in life, and that was all, so she needed to learn to respect the only family that she had. This book taught me things teachers could never explain to me. My level of knowledge on this point in world history has expanded because of this book.
In many of the Holocaust books that I read, the story line is always the same. Thw people go into hiding, get caught by the Nazis and go to a concentration camp. However, as I read on into the book, I was very pleased to know that the same old story line would not be used in this story. Instead, the brother and sister, Marc and Karin, are forced to leave France without their mother, and get on a boat and head to an American refugee camp.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Tanenbaum VINE VOICE on June 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
This moving novel by award-winning children's novelist Norma Fox Mazer (who sadly passed away in 2009) tells the story of Karin Levi, a 12-year old girl whose comfortable life is overturned when the Nazis occupy Paris in 1940. Karin, together with her mother and older brother, flee Nazi-occupied Paris and start a new life of constant fear, as they are first hidden in the countryside, and later escape into American-occupied Southern Italy (without their mother, who by this point in the narrative is too ill to travel).

The two children manage to secure passage on the Henry Gibbons, an actual ship filled with European refugees which came to the U.S. in 1944. Although the United States, like other countries around the world, largely turned its back on the desperate Jews of Europe, in 1944 FDR decided to permit transport of 1,000 refugees from Italy to the United States. Many but not all of those who sailed were Jews, as Roosevelt did not want the venture to be perceived as a "Jewish project."

The ship's occupants were sent to Fort Ontario in Oswego, New York, where they were put in a refugee camp surrounded by barbed wire. Mazer explains in an afterword that the 982 people on this ship, who came from 15 countries and ranged in age from an infant to an 80-year-old man, were the only group of refugees brought to America by the U.S. government during World War II. When the war ended, those "guests" were allowed by President Truman to stay in the United States.

As one might expect, Karin's adjustment to life in the refugee camp is not easy. Karin, who believes her mother may still be in hiding in France, pours out her heart in letters to her dear maman that she is unable to mail, not knowing where her mother might be.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The characters are easy to realate to. As you are reading you feel like you are really experiencing the events that happen. When you start reading it you can't set the book down. Then, when you finish reading it you feel like you have lost a good friend. It's a must read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Wendy on February 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Remarkable!
Good Night, Maman by Norma Fox Mazer is both heartwarming and heartwrenching. The author tells a story of a Jewish family in the 1940's hiding in France after the loss of their father. The main characters Karin and her brother Marc are brought to life as they encounter the difficulties and trials of trying to get to America to live with an aunt. As the journey unfolds the story gives details of what happened to Karin, Marc and other immigrants. The story also explores the people who helped the Levi family and others of Jewish descent. Karin and Marc must gather the courage and the strength to be on their own at an early age while learning about a new culture and new expectations.
Good Night, Maman is an excellent read aloud for a class studying WWII. The book also goes nicely with another WWII book entitled Number the Stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Good Night Maman is a historical fiction novel about a young girl fighting for her life in th German War. Young Karin Levi, travels through Venice, Italy and many other countries. While travelingshe finds a girl who tells her there is a ship leaving for America taking refugees. karin and her brother Marc, eventually arrie to the ship, as they et sail to America. Karin mees many boys and girls her age while visiting America.

Norma Fox Mazer is an exquisit author that I would probably recommendfor children i grades 6-8. This bok contains good details to help you visualize the truths of all the lives taken, by the Nazi's in the German War. I like this book because, it is very exciting ad is quite an exciting and yet suspenseful tory, that i couldn't put down.
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