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Yellow Star Kindle Edition

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Length: 258 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Age Level: 9 - 12 Grade Level: 4th - 7th

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 5-9–In thoughtful, vividly descriptive, almost poetic prose, Roy retells the true story of her Aunt Syvia's experiences in the Lodz Ghetto during the Nazi occupation of Poland. The slightly fictionalized story, re-created from her aunt's taped narrative, is related by Syvia herself as a series of titled vignettes that cover the period from fall, 1939, when she is four years old, until January 1945–each one recounting a particular detail-filled memory in the child's life (a happy-colored yellow star sewn on her favorite orange coat; a hole in the cemetery where she hides overnight with her Papa). The book is divided into five chronological sections–each with a short factual introduction to the period covered. An appended author's note tells what happened to Syvia's family after the war. A time line of World War II, beginning with the German invasion of Poland, is also included. This gripping and very readable narrative, filled with the astute observations of a young child, brings to life the Jewish ghetto experience in a unique and memorable way. This book is a standout in the genre of Holocaust literature.–Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Only 12 children survived the Lodz ghetto, and Roy's aunt Syvia was one of them. But for more than 50 years, Syvia kept her experience to herself: "It was something nobody talked about." Roy didn't know, and she admits that she didn't want to know. She always avoided Holocaust history. She was afraid of it; when she was growing up, there was no Holocaust curriculum, no discussion-just those images of atrocity, piles of bones, and skeletal survivors being liberated. Her father, too, was a survivor, but he seldom spoke of those years, and with his death, his story was lost. But a few years ago, Roy's aunt began to talk about Lodz, and based on taped phone interviews, Roy wrote her story, presenting it from the first-person viewpoint of a child, Syvia, in simple, urgent free verse in the present tense. Each section begins with a brief historical introduction, and there is a detailed time line at the end of the book.

Syvia is four years old in 1939, when the Germans invade Poland and start World War II. A few months later, her family is forced into the crowded Lodz ghetto, with more than a quarter of a million other Jews. At the end of the war, when Syvia is 10, only about 800 Jews remain-only 12 of them are children. Syvia remembers daily life: yellow stars, illness, starvation, freezing cold, and brutal abuse, with puddles of red blood everywhere, and the terrifying arbitrariness of events ("like the story of a boy / who went out for bread / and was shot by a guard / who didn't like the way the boy / looked at him"). When the soldiers first go from door to door, "ripping children from their parents' arms" and dragging them away, her father hides her in the cemetery. For years thereafter, she's not allowed to go outside. In 1944 the ghetto is emptied, except for a few Jews kept back to clean up, including Syvia's father, who keeps his family with him through courage, cunning, and luck. As the Nazis face defeat, Syvia discovers a few others hidden like her, "children of the cellar." When the Russians liberate the ghetto, she hears one soldier speak Yiddish, and the family hears of the genocide, the trains that went to death camps. At last they learn of the enormity of the tragedy: neighbors, friends, and cousins-all dead. There's much to think t and talk about as the words bring the history right into the present. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 386 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0761463100
  • Publisher: Two Lions; First Edition edition (May 15, 2012)
  • Publication Date: May 15, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008511S5C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,887 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

202 of 207 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I will admit to you right here and now that there is a kind of children's book I tend to avoid, if I can. The Holocaust children's book. I've read plenty of Uri Orlev in my time and I know my Anne Frank, but that doesn't mean I look forward to reading this kind of literature. So when the buzz began ah-hummin' around, "Yellow Star", I wasn't exactly primed to listen. First one librarian began to sing its praises. Then another. Then a whole chorus of on-pitch clever librarians in syncopated rhythm. I couldn't help but hear what they had to say. Apparently the book was so good that it sucked away about 20 minutes of discussion during a committee meeting in which we had seventy-some other books to talk about. Under such praise I had no choice but to locate myself a copy and read it myself. Normally when a book garners buzz of this nature, it has a very hard time living up to it. Jennifer Roy, however, should fear no such feeling. Her book has all the reality, depth, intelligence, and sheer compelling narrative to grab the attention of any child who is required or enticed to read this tale. Worth the hype, to say the least.

This is a true story. It was repeated to author Jennifer Roy by her aunt Sylvia, born Syvia Perlmutter. In 1945 the Lodz ghetto in Poland was liberated from the Germans. "Out of more than a quarter of a million people, only about 800 walked out of the ghetto. Of those who survived, only twelve were children. I was one of the twelve". Told in verse, the book charts Syvia's life between the ages of four and a half to ten. During that time we see the world through Syvia's eyes. Her family was, like most Jews, rounded up and put into the Lodz ghetto.
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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Book lover on April 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This isn't your typical book about the Holocaust, as it's appropriate for younger children. Written in verse through the perspective of a young girl, it's appropriate for readers of any age. Therefore, it's an excellent tool for introducing this subject to children. I think adult readers will find it poetic and thoughtful, as well.

I highly recommend this book for book groups or for students. The Holocaust theme is painful for many people, but this book provides an opportunity to brooch the subject with poignancy and empathy rather than with fear.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By C. W. Koubek on April 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Yellow Star is a gripping story, gorgeously told, and one you will not be able to forget for a long while after reading. I was riveted from the first page right through to the end. It truly is a book for all ages.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on April 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Review by Talia Rosen

Syvia Perlmutter has been living in the Lodz ghetto in Poland since she was very young. The ghettos are run and watched over by the Nazis. When trains start coming to pick up the Jews and bring them to concentration camp. Syvia's father decides that he will try as hard as he can to keep their family together. The Jews are getting onto the trains, thinking that they are going somewhere to find work, but they are being taken away to concentration camps. The Germans are breaking into people apartments and are ripping children from their families to send them all to the concentration camps as well.

This book is written in poems from the prospective of Syvia. Jennifer Roy got a chance to interview her aunt Syvia and write the story of her life as a child growing being Jewish in World War II. This book is a mix of family, history, and life. If you like books on World War II and would do anything to save your family then you will love this book. The story is deep and the plot is intense. The environment that they had to live in was bone chilling, dreadful, and it is hard imagine what the other people and Syvia's family went through. You won't believe what Syvia was put through to stay alive.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By GA on May 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Jennifer Roy has written an inspiring first person account of her Aunt Syvia who was one of the twelve surviving children in the ghetto in Lodz, Poland during WWII. The lyrical free verse of Yellow Star is immediate and powerful.

Roy's poetic description of the atrocities endured by Syvia and her family; and the courage, resilience and hope of that same family are amazing.

Yellow Star is a treasure for History and English teachers. Roy provides extensive and creative lesson plans that are available on her website,

Yellow Star is an unforgettable must read for children nine and up and adults.
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62 of 73 people found the following review helpful By CJ-MO VINE VOICE on May 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The story is inspirational, but the format will not appeal to all readers. If you (or your child) are expecting a traditional novel like I was, then "Yellow Star" may be disappointing.

The book consists of a series of poems put together to tell a story. The book is written using very simple word choices and does not offer many descriptive details. I didn't care for this style and would have preferred a more traditional narrative or even a diary-style for the story.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Gillian Hirsch on April 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
From the first page, the main character, Syvia, took me on a journey that I could not interrupt until I got to the last. I was overcome with love and compassion for this little girl and tremendous gratitude to author Jennifer Roy for giving the world this new and moving opportunity to read about this painful time in history.
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