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The Night Crossing

The Night Crossing

3.7 4
by Karen Ackerman, Elizabeth Sayles

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In 1938 Clara and her family escape over the mountains into Switzerland to avoid persecution.


In 1938 Clara and her family escape over the mountains into Switzerland to avoid persecution.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Set in Austria in 1938, this tale of a Jewish family's escape to Switzerland, said PW, ``has plenty of heartstopping moments... [but] the historical details are treated lightly.'' Ages 7-11. (May)
Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
This book tells the story of a very brave little girl and her heroic parents, crossing from Nazi-occupied Austria to freedom in Switzerland in 1938. It's not a new story, but it needs to be told, and this treatment of it is fresh. The entire family is very believable. It's good to know that England and the U.S. weren't the only countries to which Jews could flee.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-4-Clara treasures the two antique dolls that came with her grandmother when the family fled from the pogroms in Russia to Austria. Now the family is planning to escape from Nazi-occupied Austria, and Clara intends to take them with her. When Mama sews her treasured silver candlesticks into the petticoat of her oldest daughter, they make noise and Papa is afraid they will clank and alert the border guards. Clara then suggests hiding the candlesticks in the dolls' straw stuffing since this is their second ``night crossing,'' and they are not afraid. This is a suspenseful escape story written for transitional readers. The danger is clear but not belabored. The stress is on the family's closeness and courage. The dolls and candlesticks are tangible representations of continuity and tradition, which comfort and sustain the family. An epilogue reveals the fate of the Jews who did not escape, including Clara's grandmother. Ackerman's writing is clear and direct; despite its simplicity, it is never banal. This is an excellent fictional introduction to the Holocaust that is slightly easier to read, but for the same audience as, Claire Bishop's Twenty and Ten (Peter Smith, 1984). It will also be a good choice for less proficient older readers wanting World War II novels.-Louise L. Sherman, Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ
Hazel Rochman
This simple docu-novel about a Jewish child escaping from the Nazis in 1938 introduces the Holocaust to young readers. On the first page, Clara overhears her parents whispering that they must leave their home in Innsbruck, Austria, "before it is too late." Then we see why: Clara and her older sister are chased home by a group of screaming anti-Semitic kids, including her former best friend. All around them, Jewish businesses are being vandalized, their owners sent to camps, their homes burglarized. Clara's parents sell their precious belongings and cut off their yellow stars, and the family steals away in the night. Of course, they are nearly caught, but they bribe and trick and make it past the border guards and walk over the mountains to Switzerland. There's little of the immediacy and depth here of the best personal accounts for middle readers, such as Ida Vos' "Hide and Seek" (1991) or Isabella Leitner's "Big Lie" (1992); and the massacre and brutality are only hinted at. Rather, Ackerman's brief chapter-book, in large, clear type and with illustrations (unseen in galley), gives younger kids a first look at the essentials of what it was like to be an ordinary child in danger at that terrible time.
From the Publisher
"An excellent fictional introduction to the Holocaust."--School Library Journal

Product Details

Random House Childrens Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
7 - 9 Years

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Night Crossing 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I like the story a little because it has a happy ending. I don't like it cause' it's a war story. I reccommend this book because it really happened.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago