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Yellow Star Paperback – June 3, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-During the Holocaust, Nazi officials established the Lodz Ghetto in Poland, a desolate home to more than 245,000 Jews. Only 877 survived, including just 12 children. This story-in-verse (Amazon Children's Pub., 2008) offers listeners a glimpse of the experiences of Syvia Perlmutter, Roy's aunt, in the Lodz Ghetto from 1939, when she was just four years old, through 1945. Through Syvia's eyes, we learn of the loving family who tried to endure unbelievable deprivations, seeing conditions deteriorate and neighbors disappear daily. Roy recreated these vignettes from her aunt's taped narrative. Tavia Gilbert's narration brings Syvia, her family members, and friends to life. While some pronunciations are questionable (Chelm-EH-no, Ha-VAH), the overall effect is authentic. Though Holocaust study is usually reserved for older students, this personal account serves as a rare foray into the perceptions and impressions of a little girl amidst grave realities. Family love and support somehow overpower the heinous forces which would destroy all in the Ghetto, and Syvia manages to endure by cooperating with her courageous parents. Winner of several literary awards, this is a unique choice for understanding the dark years of Holocaust history, with a glimmer of hope emanating from one little girl who survived.-Robin Levin, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Teacher/Fellow, Ft. Washakie, WYα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
*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 --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Yes, 5-stars! And I give it extra stars for the narrative written as if by a little girl, 4-6 years old. I wish there had been more details, and yet, when some author gives me those details, I always think 'Why did they tell me that?'. I want to know the details, but I don't want to know the details. They can't win! And besides, what would a little girl have actually known about what was going on?
The difficult word to use for this story is "...enjoyed..." When I read stories about the Holocaust, I'm horrified by what some humans can do to other humans. I find it almost impossible to believe that some people actually did such horrifying things to other people - regardless of religion or race or...
When talking about the Holocaust, we always try to say things like "Never Again" and other similar politically-correct slogans. And yet, we're actually experiencing some of the same sort of inhumanity right now! Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Cambodia, Thailand, Uganda, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Somalia, Sudan,.... And the list goes on and on. And what are "we" doing about any of it? Think about it.
Wonderful rendering of a most tragic time
Definitely worth reading . Our prayers to the strength and courage of people that experienced the holicaust