From Publishers Weekly
This inspiring collection of children's war diaries provides a compelling window into life during conflict. Heartfelt voices detail the fear, longing, hatred and angst we associate with war, but also the banality of daily life, as the 14 authors struggle to interpret their changing societies and cling to normalcy. Russian Nina Kosterina, aged 15 at the outbreak of WWII, describes the desire she feels for a boy in her class as she grapples with a decision to defend her state. At the same time, Austrian Jew Inge Pollack, who was separated from her parents at age 12, writes of homesickness and her burgeoning love for her foster father. Filipovic, aged 11 when the war in the Balkans broke out, describes playing dressup in the one room available to her, amid the perils of sniper fire and without electricity or water. Through these myriad voices, Filipovic and Challenger create a gripping historical narrative whereby war stories are told not through facts and dates but through the honest impressions of youth. Many of the diarists have not survived, but we are fortunate that their stories—many previously unpublished—still remain. (Jan.)
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Filipovic's Zlata's Diary
(1994), about her teenage years in wartime Sarajevo, was an international best-seller. Now she and her coeditor combine brief excerpts from that stirring account with diary entries from young civilians and soldiers in World War I Germany; World War II Russia, Austria, New Zealand, Germany, Singapore, and the U.S.; Holocaust Lithuania and Poland; Vietnam; Israel and Palestine; and, finally, Iraq. Each entry is framed by a brief historical introduction and an afterword. Anne Frank is everywhere as inspiration, and, like her Diary
, the power of these unforgettable pieces is in the close-up details of everyday life in crisis, fragments of war that raise elemental connections. One of the best is the spare account of an Austrian child on the Kindertransport. An American soldier in Vietnam writes of his unspeakable brutality against civilians; then, at an airport bar in California, he is refused service as a minor. An Israeli girl and a Palestinian confront the same question: "I don't understand why people want to kill me." Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved