Ashes

Ashes

4.1 28
by Kathryn Lasky
     
 

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Thirteen-year-old Gabriella Schramm's favorite pastime is reading. With Adolf Hitler slowly but unstoppably rising to power, Gaby turns to her books for comfort while the world around her changes dramatically: The streets become filled with soldiers, Gaby's sister's boyfriend raises his arm in a heil Hitler salute, and the Schramms' family friend Albert

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Overview

Thirteen-year-old Gabriella Schramm's favorite pastime is reading. With Adolf Hitler slowly but unstoppably rising to power, Gaby turns to her books for comfort while the world around her changes dramatically: The streets become filled with soldiers, Gaby's sister's boyfriend raises his arm in a heil Hitler salute, and the Schramms' family friend Albert Einstein flees the country. When Gaby's beloved books come under attack, she fears she may have to leave behind the fiction-and the life'she has always cherished.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this thoughtful historical novel, Lasky (the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series) chronicles Hitler's rise to power in 1932 Berlin through the intelligent narration of 13-year-old Gaby. The action proves sluggish initially, though it establishes Gaby as a voracious reader growing up in an intellectual, literate family, with a physicist father who works with Einstein and a musically talented mother. Each chapter begins with a well-chosen quote from one of Gaby's beloved books, including The Call of the Wild and The Sun Also Rises. The pacing picks up as Gaby witnesses the rise of the Nazis; she realizes her family's sensible maid supports Hitler and overhears a baker's anti-Semitic remarks. Gaby begins a “Diary of Shame,” a mounting list of morally troubling moments, as when she salutes Hitler in school. Suspense builds as teachers lose jobs and as Gaby's sister becomes more seriously involved with her Nazi boyfriend. When book-burning threatens Gaby's precious books (and free thought in Germany), Gaby and her family must make critical, costly choices about their future. Gaby's questioning but assertive nature helps form a compelling, readable portrait of pre-WWII Germany. Ages 11–up. (Feb.)
Booklist
[A] gripping story about Hitler's early rise to power...From the opening quote...the personal and the political history will haunt readers.
School Library Journal
Gr 6–10—Lasky's novel, set in Berlin in 1932, opens with an author's note that provides historical background. Gaby Schramm, 13, is an avid reader of world literature, and annoyed that her math teacher confiscates her books. Her unease grows when brown-shirted SA troops of Hitler's private army start occupying the city, signaling a distinct shift toward repression and anti-Semitism. Gaby's father, an astrophysics professor and colleague of Albert Einstein, is troubled that Einstein's work is labeled "Jewish physics," and Gaby's mother begins to fear for the safety of her Jewish friend, Baba. Although fascinated by her stylish literature teacher, Gaby withdraws from school after Fraulein Hofstadt presses her to join the Hitler Youth. Then her older sister becomes pregnant and plans to marry Karl, whom Gaby suspects of being a Nazi. Even when the family vacates to their summer house on a lake in Caputh, they cannot escape the darkening political climate, while back in Berlin, banned books are burned on a mammoth pyre. With a compelling plot, a strong sense of place, and vivid characters, the novel brings to life Hitler's inexorable rise to power and its impact on an intelligent German family forced to reconsider its loyalties.—Susan W. Hunter, Riverside Middle School, Springfield, VT
From the Publisher
-A good read for all middle school students.+ -VOYA
Horn Book
Lasky interweaves the personal and political with skill.
Children's Literature - Shirley Nelson
Thirteen-year-old Gabriella Schramm begins this first person narrative with a brief summation of her life. Gabriella's father is a professor of Photo-astronomy at the University of Berlin. He has taught his Gabriella to be curious about the universe and to think for herself. These simple freedoms, however, are jeopardized in Berlin in 1932 as Adolf Hitler begins his rise to power. Gabriella's sees changes in the behavior of teachers as novels are confiscated from the students. The presence of the Brown Shirts and her suspicions about her sister's boyfriend make her afraid. This novel seems to move slowly at the beginning, but as the story progresses, the reader realizes that Lasky has matched the pace of the story to the pace of the events surrounding Gabriella. Quotations from classic literature at the beginning of each chapter underscore Gabriella's love of reading. How can these books be harmful to society? Why are books being destroyed? Gabriella's story, along with Lasky's prologue, will give young readers a better understanding of this terrible time in history. Reviewer: Shirley Nelson
VOYA - Lona Trulove
Gabrielle Schramm is an inquisitive fourteen-year-old girl living in 1933 Germany when Hitler comes to power. Gaby's father is chairman of the Department of Photoastronomy at the University of Berlin, and her mother is a pianist. Her family has a comfortable life in Berlin that includes a nice home, a housekeeper, and well-known German friends, including Albert Einstein. The terror and violence that Hitler brings to Germany is not only targeted at the Jews and Communists but also intellectuals, artists, and writers. Gaby and her family begin to feel the effects of the Nazi regime, and life as Gaby knows it ceases to exist. The historical information is well written and important to the plot. The novel excerpts at the beginning of each chapter are a wonderful addition to the richness of the story line. It is an important read for studying the Holocaust because it gives perspective to how Hitler rose to power and the immediate aftereffects. Although the main character is a girl, the book is definitely not a girls-only story. The addition of Albert Einstein, interesting astronomy tidbits, the Hitler Youth, and peer pressure make it a good read for all middle school students. Reviewer: Lona Trulove

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142411124
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
02/17/2011
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
438,208
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.60(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Award-winning author Kathryn Lasky has written many fiction and nonfiction books for children, including the Newbery Honor Book Sugaring Time. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Ashes 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read this book about 5-6 times now. It is a type of book you can never get sick of. Gabriella Schram is a sensible girl. Althought she is not Jewish , her family is very kind to Jewish people. It takes you through a girls eyes on What it was like to live in 1930's in Germany. Her oppinion is greatly expressed. Every thing is expresed well. It is a bit girly but very intriguing. I definltly sugfest this book.
LadyBugLuvsBooks More than 1 year ago
i saw this book in my school library and picked it up bcuz i think that ww2 geremay is fascinating. i liked it a lot and my friend does too. the ending was a cliff hanger, and not very satisfying, though: (
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was one of my books from the summr reading and it was so good .i loved it (couldnt even put it down)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was beautifully written with mystery and susspense. Loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Races in like liquid, twelve adder faces poking out of his thick fur.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book i read it in 7 and a half hours it was sooooo good i couldnt put it down!! I hope theres a sequel! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is this book a good book? Can someone tell me without spoiling the plot?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SweetKit
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sad and very able to make you think
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Veronica D'Hondt More than 1 year ago
Fantastic and keeps you reading love it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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kim-galleria More than 1 year ago
Gabriella Schramm (Gaby) is the model German 13 year old girl- blond, well read and proud of her country and heritage until she witnesses firsthand how her country gets caught up in "Hitler Fever". Gaby, her older sister, mother and scientist father see their world turn upside down. Next door neighbor and friend Albert Einstein and other jewish friends are set upon by the upcoming Nazi party. Teachers and neighbors seem to change identity overnight. Often sad and always real, this story shows younger readers what life must have been like during the onset of World War II in Germany. It reminds us that often people do not act the way you would expect them to when placed in a frightening situation that is out of their control. Ashes is the perfect choice for the 9-12 age group that may find other World War II novels too much yet it does not take away the emotion of that period in history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She ns and picks up the moe and hawk starting to drag them back. She sighed remember the horse-cow (its what the called a deer) she and Cloudstar had caught once.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Paddes in to listen to the elders gossip and tell stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book, except for a few parts...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Waits
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is this nonfiction?
Suzan Steckle More than 1 year ago
Wow i got my summer reading list for schoool nd this was one of the books is it goood