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Children's LiteratureIn August of nineteen thirty-nine, Lonek is an eleven year-old Polish Jew living in Jaraslaw, Poland with his Mom, Dad, three year-old brother, and sixteen year-old farm girl who is their baby-sitter, helper and Lonek's playmate. Lonek comes home following an after-school soccer game and finds his father in a soldier's uniform. The German army led by Hitler—thought to be the strongest army in the world—is about to invade Poland. Lonek's father explains he must fight for his country and that Lonek must promise to stay behind and help his mother. The happy days of Jaraslaw are over. Lonek heads out on a journey that makes him a fugitive, a captive slave, an orphan, and finally, a welcomed Jewish child in Palestine. Children and adults will see the war through Lonek's eyes in this nonfiction account. This book includes useful maps, photos, glossary and a Q and A section. It also has an afterward that wraps up the loose ends most readers are curious about at the end of the story. It would be a great book to read to any group of children to help them better understand wartime love, hatred, survival, courage, and compassion. Teachers and librarians could use this book for discussion or as a catalyst for future reading and exploration of the historical period. 2005, Star Bright Books, Ages 8 to 12.
—Charlotte M. Krall