SOMETHING REMAINS

It’s 1933 and 12-year-old Erich Levi and his family are Jews living in rural Germany. A sensitive, hardworking student with dreams of attending university, Erich is too busy with school, friends and bar mitzvah study to pay attention to politics. But after the Nazis assume control, Erich’s life as a Jewish boy gradually becomes a nightmare. At school, he is treated harshly, excluded from sports and bullied by classmates who have joined the Hitler Youth. At home, the community boycotts his father’s business. Somehow Erich endures, quietly celebrating his bar mitzvah, keeping a low profile in school and briefly falling in love. Isolated, humiliated and terrorized, Erich and his family hold fast to one another grateful for a few loyal neighbors as their lives and dreams shatter. This fictionalized account of the life of the real Levi family between 1933 and 1938 presents a shocking microcosm of Nazi persecution of German Jews, as well as a moving lesson in the evil of mass racial intolerance and the great goodness of individual moral courage as witnessed by an innocent school boy. (epilogue, author’s note, notes) (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-7868-3880-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2006

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Poignant, respectful, and historically accurate while pulsating with emotional turmoil, adventure, and suspense.

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REFUGEE

In the midst of political turmoil, how do you escape the only country that you’ve ever known and navigate a new life? Parallel stories of three different middle school–aged refugees—Josef from Nazi Germany in 1938, Isabel from 1994 Cuba, and Mahmoud from 2015 Aleppo—eventually intertwine for maximum impact.

Three countries, three time periods, three brave protagonists. Yet these three refugee odysseys have so much in common. Each traverses a landscape ruled by a dictator and must balance freedom, family, and responsibility. Each initially leaves by boat, struggles between visibility and invisibility, copes with repeated obstacles and heart-wrenching loss, and gains resilience in the process. Each third-person narrative offers an accessible look at migration under duress, in which the behavior of familiar adults changes unpredictably, strangers exploit the vulnerabilities of transients, and circumstances seem driven by random luck. Mahmoud eventually concludes that visibility is best: “See us….Hear us. Help us.” With this book, Gratz accomplishes a feat that is nothing short of brilliant, offering a skillfully wrought narrative laced with global and intergenerational reverberations that signal hope for the future. Excellent for older middle grade and above in classrooms, book groups, and/or communities looking to increase empathy for new and existing arrivals from afar.

Poignant, respectful, and historically accurate while pulsating with emotional turmoil, adventure, and suspense. (maps, author’s note) (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: July 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-88083-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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An outstanding new edition of this popular modern classic (Newbery Award, 1961), with an introduction by Zena Sutherland and...

ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS

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Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1990

ISBN: 0-395-53680-4

Page Count: -

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2000

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