SIGNS OF SURVIVAL

A MEMOIR OF THE HOLOCAUST

An extraordinary tale of sisterhood and survival, told with simplicity.

A true story of two sisters—one Deaf and one hearing—and how they endured a perilous childhood in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II.

Herta Myers, 8, and Renee, 10, are sisters living in Bratislava, the capital of what was then Czechoslovakia, during World War II. Renee is her family’s ears, as Herta and both of their parents are Deaf. They all communicate using sign language. Renee becomes so good at recognizing the sound of soldiers’ boots outside the window that she can warn her family of any danger. With narration traded between the girls, readers learn that the sisters are hidden on a farm with a couple who are also Deaf. Eventually, separated from their parents, the sisters’ journey leads them to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where their collective resolve is endlessly tested. This is a compelling story, exploring the role that senses play when one is in danger as well as presenting the candid recollections of everyday details of two children navigating appalling conditions during wartime. It is, however, a lot to process for kids who are as young as Herta and Renee were at the time of their most traumatic experiences. In the epilogue, co-author Greene reveals that this book is largely a compilation and interweaving of the transcripts of interviews that these two sisters gave to the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University.

An extraordinary tale of sisterhood and survival, told with simplicity. (poem, photographs) (Memoir. 10-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-75335-6

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

50 IMPRESSIVE KIDS AND THEIR AMAZING (AND TRUE!) STORIES

From the They Did What? series

A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats.

Why should grown-ups get all the historical, scientific, athletic, cinematic, and artistic glory?

Choosing exemplars from both past and present, Mitchell includes but goes well beyond Alexander the Great, Anne Frank, and like usual suspects to introduce a host of lesser-known luminaries. These include Shapur II, who was formally crowned king of Persia before he was born, Indian dancer/professional architect Sheila Sri Prakash, transgender spokesperson Jazz Jennings, inventor Param Jaggi, and an international host of other teen or preteen activists and prodigies. The individual portraits range from one paragraph to several pages in length, and they are interspersed with group tributes to, for instance, the Nazi-resisting “Swingkinder,” the striking New York City newsboys, and the marchers of the Birmingham Children’s Crusade. Mitchell even offers would-be villains a role model in Elagabalus, “boy emperor of Rome,” though she notes that he, at least, came to an awful end: “Then, then! They dumped his remains in the Tiber River, to be nommed by fish for all eternity.” The entries are arranged in no evident order, and though the backmatter includes multiple booklists, a personality quiz, a glossary, and even a quick Braille primer (with Braille jokes to decode), there is no index. Still, for readers whose fires need lighting, there’s motivational kindling on nearly every page.

A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats. (finished illustrations not seen) (Collective biography. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-14-751813-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Puffin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

ISAAC NEWTON

From the Giants of Science series

Hot on the heels of the well-received Leonardo da Vinci (2005) comes another agreeably chatty entry in the Giants of Science series. Here the pioneering physicist is revealed as undeniably brilliant, but also cantankerous, mean-spirited, paranoid and possibly depressive. Newton’s youth and annus mirabilis receive respectful treatment, the solitude enforced by family estrangement and then the plague seen as critical to the development of his thoughtful, methodical approach. His subsequent squabbles with the rest of the scientific community—he refrained from publishing one treatise until his rival was dead—further support the image of Newton as a scientific lone wolf. Krull’s colloquial treatment sketches Newton’s advances in clearly understandable terms without bogging the text down with detailed explanations. A final chapter on “His Impact” places him squarely in the pantheon of great thinkers, arguing that both his insistence on the scientific method and his theories of physics have informed all subsequent scientific thought. A bibliography, web site and index round out the volume; the lack of detail on the use of sources is regrettable in an otherwise solid offering for middle-grade students. (Biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-670-05921-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2006

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