Books by Ida Vos

THE KEY IS LOST by Ida Vos
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 31, 2000

Although this new Holocaust survivor novel tells much the same story as some of the other books about a family's trials during WWII, the style is slightly different. It's told from the point of view of 12-year-old Eva Zilverstijn, and is in the present tense. But it is told about Eva, as though the subject is also the observer. The result is that the narration captures the inner thoughts of the child while remaining somewhat distant. Eva and her sister Lisa, nine years old, were born in Groningen, Holland, the great-great-grandchildren of Polish-Jewish emigrants. Now it's 1940, the Germans have invaded Holland, and the lives of Jewish residents will never be the same. Eva and Lisa must now think of themselves as Marie-Louise and Marie-Jeanne Dutour, Huguenots. They will spend the next five years in hiding, fleeing from one house to another, never really sure whom to trust. The people who hide them are ordinary citizens who have no special feelings one way or the other about Jews, but will "do whatever it takes to go against those Nazis." The girls are separated from their parents soon after they begin to hide, and they won't know what happened to them until the war ends. Living through experiences that would surely destroy them if they did not have a tremendous amount of inner strength, by the end of the war they have proven themselves unusually resourceful as well as brave. On the other hand, they are still children, and find that when they are finally free to go outside, they can't. Not for a day or two, anyway, since it is still too scary. Outside, and without a star! Two poems included in the book were written by Vos's mother, and Vos and her sister carried them from one house to another, much as Lisa and Eva do in the story. This is a compelling tale, interestingly told, and will be a useful addition to the growing body of children's literature about the Holocaust. (Fiction. 10-12)Read full book review >
DANCING ON THE BRIDGE OF AVIGNON by Ida Vos
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

Rosa, who is Jewish, and her family live in Holland during the Nazi occupation, trying to carry on as normally as possible while friends disappear and evermore restrictions are imposed on them. Rosa retreats from her fear into dreams, until one of them, incredibly, seems to come true: An uncle saves the life of a German general and receives passes to get the entire family out of danger. This has little of the verve of Vos's Anna Is Still Here (1993), but she captures the simpler longings of children in the face of complex horrors. As the senseless restrictions continue to rain down on the family, some sort of terrible duet emerges, of the small insults of childhood against the enormous backdrop of war. (Fiction. 8-12) Read full book review >
ANNA IS STILL HERE by Ida Vos
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 1993

The author of the autobiographical novel Hide and Seek (1991), based on her own WW II experiences, again uses linked vignettes to evoke the painful difficulties, after the war, of resuming a normal life. Anna, 13, has just emerged from three years of hiding, during which she rarely spoke; she still imagines that a figure lurking behind a curtain in a nearby house is a Nazi, and she has nightmares fueled by the terrible things she knows her parents are keeping from her. The earliest scenes- -Father patiently coaxing Anna to speak loudly again; Anna discovering that the dreaded figure is actually Mrs. Neumann, another Jewish survivor, whose whole being is focused on the hope that her little daughter, Fannie, may be alive—are among the strongest and most telling. Others, depicting the prejudice still rife in Holland and the sometimes callous lack of sympathy for Jewish survivors, as well as the bitterness toward collaborators and the legal support available against racism, are vividly authentic. Weakest is Mrs. Neumann's reunion with Fannie; such miracles did occur, but this one seems contrived, while the focus wavers when it leaves Anna; moreover, the pain in parting Fannie and her foster parents is mentioned but not really addressed. Still, a compelling book, even stronger than its fine predecessor. (Fiction. 8-14) Read full book review >