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Yellow Star [Kindle Edition]

Jennifer Roy
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (870 customer reviews)

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Book Description

"In 1945 the war ended. The Germans surrendered, and the ghetto was liberated. Out of over a quarter of a million people, about 800 walked out of the ghetto. Of those who survived, only twelve were children. I was one of the twelve." For more than fifty years after the war, Syvia, like many Holocaust survivors, did not talk about her experiences in the Lodz ghetto in Poland. She buried her past in order to move forward. But finally she decided it was time to share her story, and so she told it to her niece, who has re-told it here using free verse inspired by her aunt. This is the true story of Syvia Perlmutter—a story of courage, heartbreak, and finally survival despite the terrible circumstances in which she grew up. A timeline, historical notes, and an author's note are included.

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: 226 KB
  • Print Length: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Two Lions; First Edition edition (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
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #459 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
160 of 165 people found the following review helpful
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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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to a difficult topic April 21, 2006
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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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A riveting read April 18, 2006
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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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yellow Star - A Masterpiece May 22, 2006
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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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy April 19, 2007
A Kid's Review
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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44 of 53 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great May 25, 2009
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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving and compelling April 29, 2006
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good!
Great book and fast read. Very interesting! I would recommend this to all looking for a piece of history from first hand experience.
Published 2 hours ago by Amy Eisenhauer
4.0 out of 5 stars Although listed as a children's book and written simply in ...
Although listed as a children's book and written simply in the words of a child who lived in the Ghetto, this was no less poignant than the words of Elie Weisel or the numerous... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Sue
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the read
A good book for elementary school children.
Enough facts but no graphic details of the ghetto.
A must read for historical studies. Read more
Published 3 days ago by June Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars It brought back many memories of a terrible time in my live
Seeing the war through the eyes of a child makes it a very lively story.It brought back many memories of a terrible time in my live. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Irene Perbal
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent telling of the Hollocost
Touching. I read this in 2 hrs so it is short but compelling. The book recounts memories of a child survivor in a work camp. Sad but uplifting and simply human. Read more
Published 4 days ago by jo-Ann
5.0 out of 5 stars Liked it
Short and very touching. I love history especially history told from someone's hindsight. And now with all the misinformation and doubt being taught in schools this is nice to... Read more
Published 6 days ago by nanabell95
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
sad but sweet story
Published 9 days ago by ANITA M MILLER
5.0 out of 5 stars True Accounts that Break Your Heart
Reading this opens your eyes. To read a survivor story that is so vivid, you're able to picture everything as you read. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Jasmin
4.0 out of 5 stars We must not forget
We need to save these stories and read about these people and their lives. This is pretty relevant to today.
Published 11 days ago by barbara kepley
5.0 out of 5 stars I absolutely loved this book and could feel every emotion this family...
I absolutely loved this book and could feel every emotion this family went through while being held captive. Wonderful read and I highly recommend!
Published 12 days ago by Lindsay
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