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I Will Come Back for You: A Family in Hiding During World War II Hardcover – September 27, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

MARISABINA RUSSO is the author and illustrator of numerous books for children. Her picture books include A Very Big Bunny, a Junior Library Guild Selection; The Bunnies Are Not in Their Beds, which was called "fresh and engaging" by Booklist; and Always Remember Me: How One Family Survived World War II, based on the experiences of her grandmother's family during the Holocaust, which was named an ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Book. Visit her at MarisabinaRusso.com.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 670L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (September 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375866957
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375866951
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 0.4 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,286,534 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
When a young child asks her grandmother about the charm bracelet she wears, she learns of her family's experience as Jews in Italy during World War II. Each charm represents a step in the grandmother's journey to freedom during the war. Separately, the grandmother's family left Rome for the mountain villages, reconnecting again at a family farm. Though they lost their Papa on the journey, they lived through the war and sailed to the United States at its end. Children ages 5-8 will connect to this family story, while learning about World War II and Nazi occupied Italy.
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Format: Hardcover
A grandmother uses her charm bracelet to tell the story of her life in Italy during World War II.

The first charm is a donkey. The donkey represents the happy times that Jacob, Sabina and their children had in Rome before the war. They would often go to the park and ride on the backs of gentle donkeys.

The second charm is a piano. Jacob would play the piano and sing to his family each night when he got home from work. One day, Jacob learned that he and all Jewish men had to move to a small village up in the mountains. The music ended and the family missed Jacob very much.

The third charm is a bicycle. Jacob learned that the Germans were coming to the village and all the Jewish detainees would be moved to a concentration camp. Jacob ran away and hid in the mountains. A friendly farmer carried Sabina on the handlebars of his bicycle to a safer hiding place higher in the mountains. The children were left behind but hoped to be reunited with their parents as soon as it was safe.

The fourth charm is a pig. The children hid in baskets of live piglets and were carried high into the mountains on the back of a donkey. They were reunited with Sabina and lived with her on a farm until the war ended.

The next two charms are a barn and a spinning wheel. These charms represent the time that Sabina and the children lived on the farm. Sabina worked in the fields and even learned to spin yarn from sheep's wool. They looked like part of the farmer's family so no one suspected that they were Jews.

The Last charm is an ocean liner. Sabina learned that Jacob had joined the partigiani, a group of people who were fighting against the Germans. He was killed by Nazi solders who found his hideout.
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Format: Kindle Edition
My four year-old daughter selects books pretty much at random at the library. I almost didn't let her keep this one, but I'm glad I did. It's a touching story told from the point of view of an Italian Jewish child who had to go into hiding during World War II, who is now an adult relating the story to her granddaughter. It goes through different charms on a charm bracelet and why they have meaning to her. Much of it went over my daughter's head, but much of it went over the child characters' heads. The book is a little longer than my daughter usually prefers, with many words she didn't understand, but she listened attentively, and with empathy. At the climax of the story, which I won't spoil for you, my daughter pouted, "That's not very nice."

It's the kind of story that gathers more meaning for the reader as she gains maturity. Very masterfully written. I definitely want to purchase this one.
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Format: Hardcover
"I Will Come Back for You" is inspired by the author-illustrator's mother's life in Italy during WW II. It begins with a young girl asking her Nonna (grandmother) about the significance of the charms on Nonna's charm bracelet. Nonna proceeds to tell her the story which goes back to wartime Italy.

The story traces the lives of a Jewish family in Rome, Italy, consisting of a father, mother, Nonna (the daughter), and Nonna's younger brother Roberto. Things are idyllic until a summons comes for Nonna's father to report to a place in the mountains - all foreign Jewish men had to be taken away since Italy had allied itself with Germany.

Nonna and her brother are of course shattered by this turn of events, but luckily their mother figures out a way to visit their father during the weekends (which was allowed at the time). Over a period of time, things get worse for the Jews - Nonna's father and the other Jewish men are to be taken away to a concentration camp in Germany and he makes plans to get away. Meanwhile, the rest of the family are hidden by kind Italian peasants.

The story flows well, and the colorful illustrations offset the grimness of the situation narrated in the story. This is a great way to introduce younger readers to the subject of the Holocaust, although I'd recommend this for children who are a bit more mature in thinking and able to understand the content. My seven-year-old is quite familiar with Anne Frank and some other stories of the Holocaust such as The Cats in Krasinski Square, The Butterfly, etc. so she was able to follow this story quite well. Recommended for school and public library collections.
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