ESCAPE TO WEST BERLIN by Maurine F. Dahlberg


Age Range: 10 & up
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East Berlin, 1961. Political and social strife run rampant. For 13-year-old Heidi Klenk and her family, life is becoming increasingly difficult. Her dad’s a “border crosser”—someone who lives in the East but works in free West Berlin; as a result, the family’s facing harsher government crackdowns. Then comes the shocking news that her parents are making secret plans to flee to the West. Heidi must fetch her grandmother by herself and, when they become separated, must face her terror of swimming—her only means of access to the other side. Many young readers will find it hard to imagine the constraints and privations of such a life. Alas, Heidi’s plight should be more gripping and involving. Adding to the disappointment is the lack of an afterword to place in context a period that will seem like ancient history to the audience for which this is intended. Heidi’s a relatable character, and her story should be more so. (Fiction. 10+)

Pub Date: Oct. 7th, 2004
ISBN: 0-374-30959-0
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2004


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