Greater Than Angels [NOOK Book]

Overview

An unforgettable reminder of the resilience of human compassion, even in the face of the worst horrors of our history.

In the autumn of 1940, Anna Hirsch and her friends and family are rounded up by Nazis and deported to Gurs, a refugee camp in the south of France. Food is scarce, and the living conditions inhumane. Even worse is the ever-present fear that they will be relocated once again — this time to one of the death camps. But when word comes that Anna and the other ...

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Greater Than Angels

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Overview

An unforgettable reminder of the resilience of human compassion, even in the face of the worst horrors of our history.

In the autumn of 1940, Anna Hirsch and her friends and family are rounded up by Nazis and deported to Gurs, a refugee camp in the south of France. Food is scarce, and the living conditions inhumane. Even worse is the ever-present fear that they will be relocated once again — this time to one of the death camps. But when word comes that Anna and the other children are to be moved, their destination is not Auschwitz or Buchenwald, but Le Chambon-sur-Lignon: a tiny village whose citizens have agreed to care for deported Jewish children.

Based on the true story of a French village that banded together to protect the Jews during WWII, this unforgettable tale honours the contagious goodness that permeated one corner of a region otherwise enveloped in evil, and celebrates the courage of all those who put their lives at risk to save others.

Anna, a teenaged German refugee, relates how she and other Jewish children were cared for by the citizens of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, France, during the German occupation.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Matas (Daniel's Story) again returns to the Holocaust as the setting for this sturdy if earthbound work. Her topic this time is the tiny French village of Le Chambon, famous for offering help to all of the approximately 2500 Jews who sought refuge there during WWII. Matas's heroine, young Anna Hirsch, remains plucky when she, her mother, aunt and elderly grandmother are deported from their home in Germany in 1940 and sent to France (she tells jokes on the train). They are sent to the detention camp at Gurs; Anna, unbowed by the wretched conditions, helps arrange concerts, learns some French and has theological debates with her friends. The story picks up when Anna is sent to Le Chambon and the emphasis shifts from Anna's indomitable spirit to well-researched descriptions of the villagers' resistance, under the leadership of the pastors Andr Trocm and Eduoard Theis. Anna, too, becomes involved with the resistance, helping deliver false identification papers. Suspense grows as Anna and a younger girl hide in the woods after news of an impending raid reaches Le Chambon, and the danger culminates in an attempt to lead the younger girl and a boy into Switzerland. Although Matas neglects to explain what happened to Trocm and Theis after her story ends (Milton Meltzer's book Rescue will prove a useful companion), she offers an inspiring and memorable lesson in courage. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Deported from Germany to Vichy France during WWII, Anna is sent to Le Chambon, a refuge for Jews. PW called it "an inspiring and memorable lesson in courage." Ages 9-12. (Nov.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
In the face of utter disaster, when the Nazis are rounding up Jews all over Europe and no one seems to care, the people of a small French village quietly save Jewish children. Huguenots themselves, they are very aware of the abuses that power can bring to otherwise civilized people. Told from the point of view of teenaged Anna Hirsch, it doesn't spare the reader much, so it's not for anyone under 10. Beautifully written, it gets into Anna's heart. Highly recommended.
VOYA - Patricia J. Morrow
Anna Hirsch is deported from Mannheim along with her grandmother, mother, and aunt to Gurs, a refugee camp under Vichy control in southern France, where they struggle to survive. Tragedy strikes as the grandmother sinks into unreality and dies. Given a chance to live in the village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, Anna and her friends Klara, Rudi (Klara's brother), and Peter relocate and continue school. As Anna tells her story, her sense of humor--a litany of Jewish jokes--and dramatic flair lighten many situations. Rudi surprises Anna with his involvement in the underground and she begins to help him deliver forged identity documents for escapees. Anna gets passes to visit her family at Gurs only to see them boarded on cattle cars bound east. As German control spreads, Rudi convinces Anna to take Klara to safety and the girls leave, along with Peter, on a harrowing mountain journey. They cross the Swiss border only to be sent back to French authorities and the camp at Rivesaltes. When Germany takes final control, students and political prisoners are set free and the trio returns to Chambon. Germans begin to round up the Jews, and Klara, Peter, and Anna again attempt to get to Switzerland, this time successfully. At the end, we feel that Anna will return to join Rudi and the resistance. Matas has again brought us a finely crafted novel about young people's experiences that broadens readers' understanding of the Holocaust throughout Europe and recognizes the strengths of young people and their ability to survive with their humanity intact. Survivors of Chambon have continued their relationship with those who helped them, as noted in the afterword. A nice addition to the book is a map of the French region during the war. VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, Broad general YA appeal, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
School Library Journal
Gr 6-8Set in Vichy, France, this novel covers a section of Europe often overlooked in Holocaust literature. Anna, 13, along with her mother, her aunt, and grandmother, are deported from Germany to Gurs, a refugee camp on the French-Spanish border. The details of the journey and the terrible conditions there are vividly and realistically described. Anna's grandmother dies and the girl's mother and aunt are eventually removed to a concentration camp and never heard from again. Relief workers arrange for Anna and some of the other young people to be sent to the village of Le Chambon where French citizens take them in and allow them to live with some semblance of normalcy. Anna is a strong young woman with a flair for acting and singing and a penchant for telling corny jokes. She and her friends spend long hours discussing the "why" of what is happening to the Jews of Europe, trying to understand a universe in which such evil could exist. A budding romance between Anna and Rudi, a childhood friend, gives a little extra zest to the plot. The French gendarmes who are collaborating with the Nazis provide a sharp contrast to the actions of the local people, who literally risk their lives to help the Jewish children. A map clearly shows the areas where the story takes place. In an afterword, Matas tells of interviews she had with survivors who spent the war years in Le Chambon. This well-researched historical novel will make a good addition to middle-school collections.Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781443128513
  • Publisher: Scholastic Canada Ltd
  • Publication date: 10/1/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 667,036
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

CAROL MATAS is the award-winning author of more than forty books for children and young adults. She is best known for her acclaimed historical fiction, and her awards include the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young Readers as well as two nominations for the Governor General's Award. Carol lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Visit her online at carolmatas.com
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2012

    This book was absolutly splendid! I really enjoyed this book and

    This book was absolutly splendid! I really enjoyed this book and I recommend it to every one who thinks this era in history is interesting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2005

    GREAT BOOK

    I read this book twice!! I loved it...you wont waste your time if you do.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2003

    MuSt ReAd

    YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK. GREATER THAN ANGELS IS MY FAVORITE BOOK ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST. IT IS FULL OF SUSPENSE. YOU CANT PUT IT DOWN!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2003

    Great

    This was one of the best books I've ever read

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2002

    One of the BEST books I've ever read!

    I absolutely LOVE Greater Than Angels! Anna is spirited and funny, as well as brave and daring. I like learning about the Holocaust, and this book is FABULOUS!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2002

    good book!

    This book was good! I think Carol Matas needs to make more books, especially a sequel to the book In My Enemy's House!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2002

    Awesome!!

    This book was the best book I've ever read!!!!! It showed me things I never knew before!!! You have to read it!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2002

    Greater Than Angels

    This book is awesome. I love to read anything but it usually takes me a few days. This book took me 1 day because it was so interesting. It's a historical fiction, and a 'love story' all in one. All of my friends have begged me to let them borrow it. I would highly reccomend this book to anyone!:-)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2001

    very nice

    I love this book and I hate to raed but I couldn't put the book down. I have already read the book severl times and I love it {^_^}

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2001

    This book made you feel like you were there.

    If you like adventure, romance, and inspirational books this is the one for you. I've read this book about 7 times and I always end up crying at the end.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2001

    AWSOME GOOD GREAT BOOK

    this book not only helped me ace my history test it helped me learn about my religion and enjoy it at the same time. THIS BOOK IS OOD YOU HAVE TO READ IT!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2001

    THIS IS A GREAT BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I COULD NOT PUT DOWN THE BOOK. IT IS BETTER THAN HARRY POTTER. IF I WERE YOU I WOULD PICK UP THIS BOOK AND START TO READ.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2001

    Greater Than Angels

    I Loved this book which was recommended to me by my friend. You get so enthralled in this book that you can't put it down. I love how Carol Matas makes her books seem like they're really happening.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2000

    Wow!!!!:):):):)

    it was wonderful i loved it it was soo interesting and it kept me wanting to read which i don't like to do the much!!:):):)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2000

    awesome Book!!!

    This is the best holocaust book i have ever read and i reccomend this to all!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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