MALKA by Mirjam Pressler
Kirkus Star


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Age Range: 12 & up
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A wrenching Holocaust story about flight, fear, and a child left alone. In 1943, Dr. Hannah Mai and her two daughters flee Lawoczne, Poland, trying to get across the Hungarian border. Minna, 17, is able to manage the brutal physical trek, but seven-year-old Malka becomes ill. Her fever and sores prompt Hannah’s gut-wrenching decision to leave Malka behind with Jews who promise to care for her. Unexpectedly abandoned, however, Malka spends four months on her own, ending up back in Poland. Occasionally she is cared for, but more often she wanders deserted ghettos alone, hiding in coal chutes and scavenging for scraps of food. Only luck and her blond (though filthy) hair keep her alive. Malka’s survival extracts a grim psychological toll. Although concentration camps are never seen, the trauma of this war is profoundly documented in the shattering reunion between Malka and Hannah, who has dared to re-enter Poland in search of her daughter. Heartbreaking historical fiction based loosely on the real Malka Mai’s life, this belongs with the best Holocaust literature. (afterword) (Historical fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-399-23984-7
Page count: 246pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2003


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