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Twelve-year-old Laura Wyman is preparing for her Bat Mitzvah, and the rabbi has given her class a special assignment. The students will "twin" with a Jewish child who, due to the Holocaust, never had the opportunity to celebrate this important milestone. When she tries to get out of the project, the rabbi gives Laura Mrs. Mandelcorn's phone number and asks that she visit her. The elderly woman gives the child a diary from 1941-1943, and Laura immerses herself in the gripping story of Sara Gittler, a girl living in the Warsaw ghetto. Kacer's text alternates between Sara's diary entries and Laura's present-day story. However, the plodding third-person narration for Laura is too descriptive, spelling out all of her thoughts and feelings. The writing in Sara's diary is much more fluid and compelling, which makes the book as a whole seem unbalanced. Secondary story lines involving school bullies and vandalism to the local Jewish cemetery are a bit contrived, and readers will realize that the diary belongs to Mrs. Mandelcorn much sooner than Laura does. Nonetheless, Kacer does provide an interesting, highly readable story of life in the Warsaw ghetto complete with historical photographs. Students participating in similar "twinning" projects will relate to Laura's discovery of how lessons learned from World War II can resonate today.-Rachel Kamin, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Highland Park, IL
Posted September 16, 2012
Posted October 27, 2008
Laura Wyman has only three weeks to go before her Bat Mitzvah when she is assigned a special "twinning" project. She must read the diary of Sara Gittler, a young girl imprisoned in the Warsaw Ghetto during the Holocaust. Sara never had the chance to celebrate her own Bat Mitzvah, so it is Laura's task to share hers. She will honor her "twin" by speaking of Sara at her ceremony. <BR/><BR/>Though Laura is at first reluctant to undertake this project, she quickly becomes immersed in Sara's story, a struggle filled with tragedy, courage, and the will to survive. From Sara, Laura learns how to find the courage to understand some of the darkness of the world, and the strength to rise above it. <BR/><BR/>THE DIARY OF LAURA'S TWIN is a touching Holocaust remembrance story for younger readers. Though it is relatively conventional in theme and plot, Kacer brings the main characters to life, giving Laura a voice that is real and heartfelt. Photographs and historical facts are cleverly interwoven into the book, making it a teaching device as well as a captivating story. <BR/><BR/>This book serves well as an age-appropriate introduction to the Holocaust that will stay in readers' minds.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.