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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THUNDER ROLLING IN THE MOUNTAINS

Seen through the eyes of Chief Joseph's daughter, Sound of Running Feet, O'Dell's last novel (coauthored and completed after his death by his wife) recounts the circuitous, tragic journey of the Ne-mee-poo (Nez Perce) from their Oregon home to the Lapwai Reservation in Idaho. Wisely recognizing that there's no way to fight the entrenching whites, Chief Joseph counters calls to war from dissenting tribal leaders and agrees to lead his people on what becomes an epic ordeal. Attacked by settlers en route, they win some battles against the "Blue Coats,"but the decimated tribe makes it into Crow territory only to find that their former allies are in league with the Army. Heading for refuge with Sitting Bull in Canada, they're caught in a surprise attack that leaves no choice but surrender. Bringing this bleak historical episode to life in spare, supple prose that echoes Joseph's own dignified words, the authors offer a fascinating look at the heroism of ordinary people. While the strong-willed narrator, her father, and her brave betrothed at first seem larger than life, it is quickly apparent that they don't consider themselves as such; and though she wishes she could fight, the girl dutifully takes her place caring for the young and the infirm. The authors don't tone down war's violence; they simply present it with unembellished clarity that is certain to leave a lasting impression, ending on a memorable note of reconciliation. A fitting end to a distinguished career. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-395-59966-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1992

Did you like this book?

An engaging novel-in-poems that imagines one earnest, impassioned teenage girl’s experience of the Japanese-American...

DUST OF EDEN

Crystal-clear prose poems paint a heart-rending picture of 13-year-old Mina Masako Tagawa’s journey from Seattle to a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II.

This vividly wrought story of displacement, told from Mina’s first-person perspective, begins as it did for so many Japanese-Americans: with the bombs dropping on Pearl Harbor. The backlash of her Seattle community is instantaneous (“Jap, Jap, Jap, the word bounces / around the walls of the hall”), and Mina chronicles its effects on her family with a heavy heart. “I am an American, I scream / in my head, but my mouth is stuffed / with rocks; my body is a stone, like the statue / of a little Buddha Grandpa prays to.” When Roosevelt decrees that West Coast Japanese-Americans are to be imprisoned in inland camps, the Tagawas board up their house, leaving the cat, Grandpa’s roses and Mina’s best friend behind. Following the Tagawas from Washington’s Puyallup Assembly Center to Idaho’s Minidoka Relocation Center (near the titular town of Eden), the narrative continues in poems and letters. In them, injustices such as endless camp lines sit alongside even larger ones, such as the government’s asking interned young men, including Mina’s brother, to fight for America.

An engaging novel-in-poems that imagines one earnest, impassioned teenage girl’s experience of the Japanese-American internment. (historical note) (Verse/historical fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: March 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1739-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more