Tag Archive | Poland

Z is for Zlatka, making Paper Hearts secretly in Auschwitz (book review) by Meg Wiviott

book cover of Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott published by Margaret K. McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comForbidden in Auschwitz:
humanity, relationships, possessions,
and yet…

Her life forfeit if discovered, Zlatka rises above despair in the death camp by celebrating another year of friend Fania’s life with a paper origami heart, crafted in secret.

See the actual paper heart today in the Montreal Holocaust Museum – how fragile things like paper and hope can survive such hate…

As National Poetry Month closes, this novel in verse based on a true story of friendships opens our hearts.
**kmm

Book info: Paper Hearts / Meg Wiviott. Margaret K. McElderry Books, hardcover 2015, paperback 2016.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Pulled from their Jewish families in different Polish hometowns to this terrible place, this death camp, young women Zlatka and Fania find hidden ways to bolster their spirits as they try to stay alive.

The guards turn girl against girl, and girls try anything to get another ration of moldy bread. Forced to work as slaves in a German metal factory making bomb casings instead of bowls, Zlatka and Fania and a few others do their best to be human to one another.

Watching the seasons pass, praying to Adonai in whispers no one can hear. As winter comes near, Zlatka decides to make a card for Fania, because a birthday – or any day – is a gift too precious to ignore.

Can the young women barter enough bread to get a piece of paper or pencil stub?
Can they keep this secret from Fania and the guards?
Will they live or die or keep existing in between?

Zlatka and Fania each tell their story through chapters of poems, enduring and persevering because friendship can make its own family in the midst of horror and despair. Based on actual people and events at Auschwitz Concentration and Extermination Camp during World War II, this novel in verse celebrates the best and the worst of humanity.

Courageous teens in World War II – stories to read with your ears

For this final week of their summer program, AudioSYNC brings us two very different stories of teens coping with World War II .

Remember, these free complete audiobooks are only available from Thursday through Wednesday (12 Aug 2015), but you have free use of them as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device. Just click on the title to reach its download page with quick registration.

Thank you to @AudioSYNC and all the audiobook publishers who provide these great free downloads – looking forward to summer 2016!

CD cover of Under a War-Torn Sky  by L.M. Elliott | Read by Elizabeth Wiley Published by Tantor AudioUnder a War-Torn Sky
by L.M. Elliott
Read by Elizabeth Wiley
Published by Tantor Audio

Shot down behind enemy lines during WWII, a young American pilot tries to reach safety with the help of French Resistance members and learns first-hand of their sacrifice and bravery.

 

The Old Brown SuitcaseCD cover of The Old Brown Suitcase  by Lillian Boraks-Nemetz | Read by Sofia Bunting Newman Published by Post Hypnotic Press Inc.
by Lillian Boraks-Nemetz
Read by Sofia Bunting Newman
Published by Post Hypnotic Press Inc.

From the Warsaw ghetto to a new life in Canada, Slava carries a battered suitcase filled with memories and more sorrow than any 14 year old should have endured – can the young Jewish woman ever fit in?

Courage in harrowing circumstances – got it?
**kmm

Winter Guest, by Pam Jenoff (book review) – war, love, memory, betrayal

book cover of The Winter Guest by Pam Jenoff published by Harlequin MiraNazis getting nearer,
food getting scarcer,
hope is a fool’s game – until Helena finds Sam.

The threat of winter overtaking the family farm in 1940 seems more worrisome than the sudden disappearance of neighbors, as twins Helena and Ruth care for their younger brother and sisters after Mama is hospitalized far away and Nazi forces edge ever-closer to their tiny Polish village.

And then an American airman falls into Helena’s life…

Read an excerpt free here, then find this story of love, hope, lies, and secrets to get the rest of Sam and Helena’s story.

**kmm

Book info: The Winter Guest / Pam Jenoff. Harlequin Mira, 2014  [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: After losing their parents during wartime, Helena and twin sister Ruth hold their family together. When Helena risks their safety to keep a downed Allied aviator out of the Nazis’ hands, another rash act may doom them all.

On their small Polish farm, strong Helena and gentle Ruth must keep their younger siblings warm and fed after Papa’s death and Mama’s hospitalization in the city. The young women also must keep the village officials from realizing that Mama may never come home.Winter Guest, by Pam Jenoff (book review) – war, love, memory, betrayal

Hiding near the snowy trail on one long trek to see Mama in Krakow, Helena overhears German soldiers -an Allied plane crashed nearby, and one of the airmen has survived! She finds Sam in a remote abandoned chapel and decides to help him. As his leg heals and more secrets unfold, they plan her family’s escape.

But how to get food to the American when there’s little enough at home?
Will Mama ever rouse from her grief and depression in the Jewish hospital?
Can Ruth and Helena stay clear of the lecherous town constable and the Nazi soldiers now in their village?

Bracketed by episodes of her life as an old woman now, Helena’s compelling memories of the Jewish airman whom she came to love and the terrors which invaded their village paint a vivid picture of World War II mysteries and ghosts, including Ruth’s act of treachery.

Read around the world (reflective)

We’ve circled the globe during July and the Ultimate Blog Challenge, highlighting books set in many countries (and eras).

The Grassland Trilogy reaches back beyond written history, showing the courage of young people trying to Escape the Mask, see Beneath the Mask, and go Beyond the Mask.

Cate of the Lost Colony traveled from the glittering court of Queen Elizabeth I to the desolate sand dunes of Roanoke in the New World, and Plain Kate, driven from her home by superstition, must search for answers down the river, into the mists.

Esty’s Gold took us from famine-stricken Ireland to the Australian goldfields in the 1880s, while The Reformed Vampire Support Group sticks together in today’s Sydney.

Online gamers in China, India, Singapore and the US are fighting For the Win and a fair chance at life.

Annexed and Briar Rose brought us perspectives on the Holocaust – the Netherlands, Germany, Poland – so many bitter sorrows, so many untold tales.

Modern-day Paris hides decades-old secrets in Die For Me, while in Montreal, Mira just wants her own today in Pieces of Me.

And we’ve just begun the Rivers of Time trilogy, as Lia and Gabi go back to 14th century Tuscany in Waterfall.

Oh, the photo up there? That’s me aboard the wooden sailing ship Southern Swan in Sydney Harbour in the 21st century. Ready for more great books in August?
**kmm

Briar Rose (fiction)

Shh… Sneak-in Saturday has a double meaning today, as we consider an adult book that snuck itself into teens’ hearts and then snuck onto numerous award lists before I could blog about it.

Originally written as a novel for adults, Briar Rose won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature in 1993, but gathered such a following among older teen readers that it was re-released as a Tor Teen paperback in 2002.

Memories of less-often told stories of the Holocaust spill into the present day as Becca tries to carry out her grandmother’s last wishes on a trek to Poland that becomes a heart-wrenching journey into the hellish days of World War II.

A strong, faithful book that reminds us that history’s headlines are not the only important stories.
**kmm

Book info: Briar Rose / Jane Yolen. Macmillan/Tor Teen, 2002. [author’s website] [publisher site] [book trailer]

Recommendation: Becca always loved her grandmother’s story about Briar Rose, no matter how many times Gemma told it to her and her sisters. The princess, the black-booted witch’s curse, the mist that covered the kingdom and made everyone sleep for a hundred years… not the same Sleeping Beauty story that you heard or read in books.

Years later, grown-up Rebecca promises her elderly grandmother that she will find out the rest of the story. Upon Gemma’s death, she inherits a small box of photos and papers – clues to the past and the rest of the Briar Rose story that journalist Rebecca must uncover.

From research to refugee camp, Becca traces Gemma’s mysterious arrival in the United States from Europe in the closing days of World War II. The path leads back to a Nazi extermination camp in Poland, not a concentration camp, but a place so deadly that only 4 men ever escaped… and no women ever left it alive.

Why does Gemma’s paperwork say that she came from that place of death? Is she the princess of Briar Rose? How can Becca find her family’s roots when no one in Chelmno will talk about the camp?

A powerful retelling of Sleeping Beauty that explores the brutal depths of the Holocaust. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy courtesy of the publisher.