ANYA'S WAR by Andrea Alban


Age Range: 10 - 12
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It's 1937, and Anya is becoming accustomed to Shanghai. Her family had to flee Odessa in the night after Papa told that ugly policeman he wouldn't join the Communist Party. Now China is home for her whole family: Papa, Mama (a former opera singer), Mama's parents, Babushka and Dedushka, and baby brother Georgi. In Shanghai's French Quarter, they live Jewish lives as if the Japanese weren't advancing on the city. Anya's biggest worry is the prospect of telling her mother she doesn't want to become an opera singer—until the day she finds a baby in the gutter. Will Mama and Papa let her keep the baby? Anya's Shanghai is richly chaotic, polyglot and packed with refugees. Russian, Yiddish, Hebrew, Mandarin Chinese and Italian pepper the dialogue. Meanwhile, immigrant Anya happily devours her buckwheat piroshki with chopsticks after Papa has recited the Hebrew blessings over the food. The chaos of the prose is less felicitous; characters whisk between conversations without segue. A delightfully textured—but confusingly rushed—glimpse at a little-remembered period of Jewish history. (Historical fiction. 10-12) 
Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-312-37093-0
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2011


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