An accessible and absorbing portrait of empathy, character, and moral courage, relevant for modern times.

READ REVIEW

LOUDER THAN WORDS

From the Heroes Quartet series , Vol. 3

A Christian family housekeeper puts herself at risk when she becomes the main caretaker for three Jewish sisters in World War II Ukraine.

Twelve-year-old Eldina “Dina” Sternik is a Jewish girl living in Proskurov, in Soviet Ukraine, when the Nazis take over in 1941. Dina’s first-person narrative brings readers directly through the loss of freedoms experienced by Ukrainian Jews, as the park, school, and market become off-limits and Jews must wear yellow Stars of David on their clothing whenever they go out. After a fire leaves them homeless, Nina, their Christian housekeeper, registers the children as her own so that the Sternik family may receive alternative housing and not be identified by their true religion. The contrast between Nina’s treatment of the Sterniks and the hostility shown by Dina’s estranged uncle’s Christian wife speaks volumes of the importance of the righteous individual. Nina treats them as the family that she never had and cares for the children for several years once their mother is imprisoned in the Jewish ghetto. Reminiscent of Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars (1989), this is Kacer’s third novel in the Heroes Quartet series and is based on the true story of Nina Pukas, named one of the Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem.

An accessible and absorbing portrait of empathy, character, and moral courage, relevant for modern times. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77321-354-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: yesterday

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit...

NUMBER THE STARS

The author of the Anastasia books as well as more serious fiction (Rabble Starkey, 1987) offers her first historical fiction—a story about the escape of the Jews from Denmark in 1943.

Five years younger than Lisa in Carol Matas' Lisa's War (1989), Annemarie Johansen has, at 10, known three years of Nazi occupation. Though ever cautious and fearful of the ubiquitous soldiers, she is largely unaware of the extent of the danger around her; the Resistance kept even its participants safer by telling them as little as possible, and Annemarie has never been told that her older sister Lise died in its service. When the Germans plan to round up the Jews, the Johansens take in Annemarie's friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend she is their daughter; later, they travel to Uncle Hendrik's house on the coast, where the Rosens and other Jews are transported by fishing boat to Sweden. Apart from Lise's offstage death, there is little violence here; like Annemarie, the reader is protected from the full implications of events—but will be caught up in the suspense and menace of several encounters with soldiers and in Annemarie's courageous run as courier on the night of the escape. The book concludes with the Jews' return, after the war, to homes well kept for them by their neighbors.

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit of riding alone in Copenhagen, but for their Jews. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1989

ISBN: 0547577095

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A satisfying, winning read.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016

  • New York Times Bestseller

BOOKED

Nick Hall is a bright eighth-grader who would rather do anything other than pay attention in class.

Instead he daydreams about soccer, a girl he likes, and an upcoming soccer tournament. His linguistics-professor father carefully watches his educational progress, requiring extra reading and word study, much to Nick’s chagrin and protest. Fortunately, his best friend, Coby, shares his passion for soccer—and, sadly, the unwanted attention of twin bullies in their school. Nick senses something is going on with his parents, but their announcement that they are separating is an unexpected blow: “it’s like a bombshell / drops / right in the center / of your heart / and it splatters / all across your life.” The stress leads to counseling, and his life is further complicated by injury and emergency surgery. His soccer dream derailed, Nick turns to the books he has avoided and finds more than he expected. Alexander’s highly anticipated follow-up to Newbery-winning The Crossover is a reflective narrative, with little of the first book’s explosive energy. What the mostly free-verse novel does have is a likable protagonist, great wordplay, solid teen and adult secondary characters, and a clear picture of the challenges young people face when self-identity clashes with parental expectations. The soccer scenes are vivid and will make readers wish for more, but the depiction of Nick as he unlocks his inner reader is smooth and believable.

A satisfying, winning read. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-57098-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more