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Somewhere There Is Still a Sun: A Memoir of the Holocaust Hardcover – Illustrated, August 25, 2015

4.7 out of 5 stars 139 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Written in first-person present-tense narration, this riveting memoir traces the increasingly appalling events that took place from 1939–1945 in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, as seen through the eyes of Gruenbaum. As the book opens, 10-year-old Misha protests his growing awareness of injustice: “Every day is a new, stupid rule and worse food and no soccer.” Watching the German army enter Prague, he feels more curiosity than dread until he sees a couple jump to their death holding hands. Miseries ensue: the ghetto, yellow stars, his father’s murder, increasing danger, hunger, and humiliation—all leading to the family’s arrival in the Terezin concentration camp. There, Misha joins a group of 40 boys who live, work, and play under the stern but loving care of Franta, a young man who calls them the “Nesharim,” and demands high moral character: “We will let nothing separate us from our humanity.” The ingenuity, love, and defiant courage displayed by Misha, his parents, Franta, and others counteract incessant degradation and terror, creating an inspiring testament to human resilience. -- Publishers Weekly, *STARRED REVIEW, May 25, 2015

"Young Misha’s narration sets this Holocaust memoir apart from others. Initially unaware of the dark implications of the events, Misha adapted to camp life, playing soccer and making new friends, until he could no longer ignore the truth. His innocence contrasts with what readers (and the adults around Misha) know is going on, which creates a foreboding tone. The use of present-tense narration contributes to the urgency of the narration, and Misha’s sense of fairness and his unfailing faith that things will improve will resonate with students." -- School Library Journal

"The Holocaust’s horrors are handled delicately for middlegrade readers but never detract from the truth. Photographs and letters add to the memoir’s efficacy and poignancy." -- Booklist

"Somewhere There is a Sun reads like the private journal of a Czech boy and later teenager, candidly recording his innermost thoughts and feelings on the daily routines of his life from 1939 to 1945. With this book, Michael Gruenbaum has offered the current generation of young readers a very special book that will trigger both emotion and reflection; it is an extremely valuable tool for all of us who are trying to teach teenagers about the Holocaust . " -- Margot Stern Strom, Facing History and Ourselves

“This account will help young readers imagine themselves in the midst of the unimaginable—and will show them how kids very much like them managed to survive.” -- M.T. Anderson, New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Michael Gruenbaum was born in 1930 in Prague, Czechoslovakia. In 1942, he was sent to the concentration camp Theresienstadt, or Terezin, with his mother and sister, and remained there until the end of the war. He emigrated to the United States in 1950, graduated from MIT and Yale, served two years in the Army, and worked for the Boston Redevelopment Authority and Mass. Dept. of Public Works, before cofounding a consulting firm. He was married for fifty years to the late Thelma Gruenbaum, author with Michael of Nesarim: Child Survivors of Terezin. He has three sons and four grandchildren.

Todd Hasak-Lowy has published several books for adults. 33 Minutes was his first book for young readers and he made his YA debut with Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Evanston, Illinois.

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
139 customer ratings
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Top international reviews

Red Jenny
5.0 out of 5 stars A true account told without bitterness.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 27, 2017
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Tracy
4.0 out of 5 stars Great addition to my books of this genre
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 14, 2018
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5.0 out of 5 stars good
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 7, 2019
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