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The Upstairs Room Hardcover – January 21, 1972

4.4 out of 5 stars 152 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Upstairs Room Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this Newbery Honor book, Reiss writes a stirring, fictionalized account of her own experiences as a Jewish girl during World War II. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8-The deLeeuw family, Dutch Jews, did not emigrate to the U.S. in time to escape the German Holocaust. However, friends kept them hidden during those turbulent years and they did survive the War. As presented in Johanna Reiss' novel, based on her own experiences in Holland during World War II, (HarperCollins, 1972), Annie, the young first person narrator, and her older sister must live in an upstairs bedroom belonging to a rough but sympathetic farmer and his family. Christina Moore capably uses a youthful voice to portray Annie. While she does not assume a false accent, she is able to read the Dutch names and the few Dutch words without hesitation. She makes slight voice changes for the different characters, and effectively portrays a variety of emotions. She changes speed frequently so that the tape does not become monotonous. An excellent choice to present the Holocaust to younger readers.
Claudia Moore, W.T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 8 and up
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (January 21, 1972)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0690851278
  • ISBN-13: 978-0690851274
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,423,005 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

A Kid's Review on January 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
In class I was assigned to read The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss. The story takes place during the Holocaust in the city of Usselo, Holland. The main character is Annie. She is a small girl with dark hair. She has two sisters and her mother gets very sick. I have also read the book Parallel Journeys by Eleanor Ayer, with quotes from Alfons Heck, a German soldier, and Helen Waterford, a Jew. Both Parallel Journeys and The Upstairs Room are about the Holocaust and what it was like to be a Jew. I feel that the message of The Upstiars Room was to treat all people equal. During the Holocaust, Hitler hated the Jews and was killing them. The Jews had to hide so that they would not be killed, but if they were found, they would be sent to work or extermination camps. Hitler established the Hitler Youth in which there were ranks. If you got to the top of the ranks, you would then be moved to the German army. I think The Upstairs Room is an excellent book. It was very exciting. It made me imagine myself as Annie. I think Johanna Reiss did a good job telling the story as Annie. I would recommend this book to girls from grades six and up because there was some language inappropriate for young childrenand some boys that read The Upstairs Room told me that it was a girl's book. I hope this book review helps you decide if you want to read The Upstairs Room.
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Format: Paperback
The Upstairs Room is an excellent book about Jews hiding during WWII. The main character is Annie de Leeuw. She was a nine-year-old Jewish girl living in Holland. Slowly Annie and her family were forced to quit school and their jobs. The loss of freedom destroyed Annie's spirit. She longed to be able to see her friends and play outside. The de Leeuw's decided to hide when they realized the Nazi's would be taking them to concentration camps. The entire family could not hide in the same location, so they split up. Annie's mother was ill, so she remained in a hospital. Annie and her sister, Sini, hid upstairs in the Oosterveld's farmhouse. Her father and sister, Raquel, stayed with a retired minister. Annie and Sini were cramped in a very small space, which was incredibly cold in the winter. The girls often spent many days in bed to keep warm. Annie was often forced to walk back and forth across the room to strengthen her legs because they began to grow irregularly. The girls had to hide in a closet for days on end when Nazi soldiers used the Oosterveld's house as an office. The Oosterveld's took excellent care of Annie and Sini and became quite attached. The entire time spent in the room was stressful and depressing for the girls. They were only allowed to go outside a few times during the their time in hiding. Annie and her family hid for two years before they could return to their home. The sacrifice the Oosterveld's made to save the girls is incredibly moving. The strength and perseverance Annie and Sini possess will inspire readers for years to come.
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A Kid's Review on February 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is about 2 girls, Annie and Sini de Leeuw. Because they are Jewish and live in Holland they have to go into hiding from the Germans during World War II. If they don't they will be taken to a concentration camp and be killed.
Both of the girls leave their parents and older sister to go to safety with the Hannicks. Mr Hannick is known for helping Jews get to different home to hide in. When someone sees Mr Hannick helping a Jewish family to another home, it becomes unsafe for the girls so they have to go somewhere else.
They end up going to the Oosterveld's. The girls end up living in an upstairs room of the farmhouse. During the day they must quietly stay upstairs in their room and never go near the windows. In the evening, after dinner,the girls come down to listen to the radio.
Mr.Oosterveld's makes a special hiding place so if the soldiers come to check the house the girls won't be caught. Do the soldiers come? Do they get caught? What happens to Sini , Annie and the Oosterveld's? Do Annie and Sini ever get to see their parents and sister again? You must read the book to see for yourself what the answers are.
. So many exciting things happen throughout the book that I couldn't put it down and I bet you won't either. It's not another boring war book. It's hard to believe that it is based on fact. I can't wait to read the sequel - The Journey Back...........This book is a five star read
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Format: Paperback
Set in Holland during the early 40's this first person story relates the persecution and hardships of the Jewish community under Nazi occupation. Ten-year-old Annie resents her decreasing personal freedom, diminished lifestyle, fragmented family and just generally being made to feel somehow odd in her own country. Her people are insulted, restricted, bullied, beaten and sent to "work" camps. The family unit disintegrates as Mother is hospitalized, Father goes Into Hiding in another town, and the oldest sister insists on making it on her own. The two sisters who remain together resent each other and bicker often. At great risk some courageous Dutch citizens help the persecuted family. As she contemplates her face in the mirror in the Upstairs Room, Annie wonders if she suddenly looks Jewish. Why is she, practically overnight, different from her Dutch friends?
She also faces internal struggles during the almost 3 years spent in hiding with Sini (20). In times of extreme danger the sisters rush into a special hiding place behind a closet, or else play at being moles. It's not easy for a lively youngster to become invisible, instantly, or for a prolonged period of time. She rages against her sister, but most of all against the cramped spaces, restrictions on exercise, light and fresh air. In fact Annie accidentally puts them all (including their generous host family) at risk by her immature behavior. Still the kindly farm family grows to love their girls; after the village is liberated, they all dread the inevitable separation. This story is true, written by Johanna Reiss to enlighten her own daughters about the human desire to live and enjoy life, as well as to praise the integrity of the Dutch nation. Elementary girls will sympathize with the emotional suffering of the young protagonist.
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