From School Library Journal
Grade 5 Up–This sequel to A Pocket Full of Seeds
(Penguin, 1994) begins with the last night the 13-year-old French protagonist sees her family alive. Coming home after a sleepover, Nicole Nieman finds her apartment ransacked and discovers that the Gestapo has seized her parents and little sister. Terrified and alone, she is forced to seek out an estranged aunt who agrees to keep her. After the occupation ends in 1944, Nicole is uncomfortable living with her aunt and chooses to board at school, where she is reunited with Rosette, another Jewish girl. Though Rosette's father tells horror stories of the camps, Nicole remains optimistic. Nevertheless, she gets the tragic news that her family did not survive Auschwitz. Devastated, she decides to move to America and live with cousins in the Bronx. Her relatives never make her feel welcome, and Nicole, who is now 17, must get a job and make a future for herself. Most of the book deals with Nicole's adjustment to life in the United States, and the first-person narrative does a good job of expressing her feelings of alienation, her loneliness, and her unwavering determination to remain true to herself and to the memory of her beloved family. Like Livia Bitton-Jackson's memoir, Hello, America
(S & S, 2005), this is a moving coming-of-age story of a courageous girl.–Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools
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Gr. 5-8. Whether dealing with the harrowing story of a Holocaust survivor or with the daily details of trying to be a real American girl, Sachs' story, based on the real-life experience of a Jewish teenager, unfolds quietly. In 1943 Nicole, 14, is at a friend's when the Gestapo arrests her family in her small French town. After the war she waits for their return, until, in an absolutely unforgettable scene, a weeping survivor tells Nicole that her parents and baby sister died in Auschwitz. At 17, Nicole emigrates to join relatives in the Bronx--not that they really want her--and she struggles to find work, friends, and a home of her own. The history is authentic; in fact, there may be too much about how Nicole shops, talks, and dates. It's the big picture that leaves the deepest impression, revealing that many Americans felt untouched by the war and didn't want to know about it. Without rhetoric, this novel ensures that readers learn the real history. Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved