|1||Bob Harkins Branch||ROY||Paperback||Junior Paperback Fiction|
"In 1945 the war ended. The Germans surrendered, and the ghetto was liberated. Out of over a quarter of a million people, about 800 walked out of the ghetto. Of those who survived, only twelve were children. I was one of the twelve." For more than fifty years after the war, Syvia, like many Holocaust survivors, did not talk about her experiences in the Lodz ghetto in Poland. She buried her past in order to move forward. But finally she decided it was time to share her story, and so she told it to her niece, who has re-told it here using free verse inspired by her aunt. This is the true story of Syvia Perlmutter--a story of courage, heartbreak, and finally survival despite the terrible circumstances in which she grew up. A timeline, historical notes, and an author's note are included.
Publisher's Weekly Review
In February 1940, four-and-half-year-old Syvia (later Sylvia) Perlmutter, her mother, father and 12-year-old sister, Dora, were among the first of more than 250,000 Jews to be forced into Poland's Lodz Ghetto. When the Russians liberated the ghetto on January 19, 1945, the Perlmutters were among only 800 people left alive; Syvia, "one day shy of ten years old," was one of just 12 children to survive the ordeal. The novel is filled with searing incidents of cruelty and deprivation, love, luck and resilience. But what sets it apart is the lyricism of the narrative, and Syvia's credible childlike voice, maturing with each chapter, as she gains further understanding of the events around her. Roy, who is Syvia's niece, tells her aunt's story in first-person free verse. "February 1940" begins: "I am walking/ into the ghetto./ My sister holds my hand/ so that I don't/ get lost/ or trampled/ by the crowd of people/ wearing yellow stars,/ carrying possessions,/ moving into the ghetto." The rhythms, repetitions and the space around each verse enable readers to take in the experience of an ordinary child caught up in incomprehensible events: "I could be taken away/ on a train,/ .../ and delivered to Germans/ who say that nothing belongs to Jewish people any-/ more./ Not even their own children." Nearly every detail-a pear Syvia bravely plucks from a tree in the ghetto, a rag doll she makes when her family must sell her own beloved doll-underscores the wedded paradox of hope and fear, joy and pain. Ages 10-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Horn Book Review
Riveting free verse inspired by the author's aunt's experiences describes life for young Syvia and her family in the Lodz (Poland) ghetto during World War II. More than two hundred thousand were imprisoned by the Nazis there; five and a half years later only twelve children were among the eight hundred people liberated. Narrative bridges link sections of poems, supplying historical context. Timeline. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.