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ALWAYS REMEMBER ME by Marisabina Russo


How One Family Survived World War II

by Marisabina Russo & illustrated by Marisabina Russo

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: April 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-689-86920-7
Publisher: Anne Schwartz/Atheneum

Russo has found a way to tell young children about the Holocaust by recasting her own family’s story—the one her own grandmother told her—in a lightly fictionalized version, with Oma telling a small girl named Rachel about her two photo albums. One is full of pictures Rachel knows, of herself, her mother, grandmother and her aunts. The other is of Oma’s life, first in Poland and then in Germany, where her family moved because “Jewish people were treated better there.” Oma’s own grandmother gave her a gold heart necklace before she left, and that token is a leitmotif as WWI breaks out, and Oma’s husband takes it to the front and back home again. When the Nazis come to power in Germany, Oma and her daughters are separated, but miraculously survive concentration camps and the death of spouses. One daughter, who had escaped to America, kept the gold heart, which Oma now presents to Rachel. Matte gouache illustrations with the hieratic form of family photographs provide just the right counterpoint to Russo’s exquisitely understated text. (Picture book. 6-10)