T4

( 7 )

Overview

It is 1939. Paula Becker, thirteen years old and deaf, lives with her family in a rural German town. As rumors swirl of disabled children quietly disappearing, a priest comes to her family’s door with an offer to shield Paula from an uncertain fate. When the sanctuary he offers is fleeting, Paula needs to call upon all her strength to stay one step ahead of the Nazis.

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T4

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Overview

It is 1939. Paula Becker, thirteen years old and deaf, lives with her family in a rural German town. As rumors swirl of disabled children quietly disappearing, a priest comes to her family’s door with an offer to shield Paula from an uncertain fate. When the sanctuary he offers is fleeting, Paula needs to call upon all her strength to stay one step ahead of the Nazis.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This free verse historical-fiction account is as gripping and moving as any Holocaust story and would be a rich addition to any World War II study."—Winston Salem Journal

"A gentle retelling of a horrific situation. . . . A great addition to the cannon of WWII YA literature, helping readers to understand how being different at this time was a dangerous thing."—KLIATT

"In her powerful debut novel, LeZotte, who is deaf, tells the story from the viewpoint of one young girl, who speaks in spare, lyrical, intense free verse that blends her personal experience with the historical facts and an additional adult perspective that looks back."—Booklist

"LeZotte’s use of free verse offers a lyrical, flowing story of yet another aspect of this historic tragedy. As a deaf person herself, she is able to delve deep into the main character’s feelings as a disabled person, adding another layer to this moving account."—Advocate News, Baton Rouge, Lousiana

"This short yet stirring read accompanied by additional notes at the back of the book would be a rich addition to any Holocaust study unit."—Jewish Book World

"T4 exposes the darkness of the time while capturing the wonder and hope of one girl's survival."—About Our Children

"I found that I couldn't put this book down. It was so amazing. . . [it’s] really rich in detail and is a great story."—FlamingNet.com, student review

"A poetic book that simply and powerfully examines the injustices of the Nazis during World War II."—Holly Newton, Newton's Book Notes

Children's Literature - Miriam Chernick
Thirteen year-old Paula Becker is deaf, a death sentence in Germany in 1939, because the Nazi regime orders the killing of anyone who is disabled or mentally ill. With the help of their priest, Paula's parents send her into hiding, first to live with a retired schoolteacher, and then to a homeless shelter, where she meets "Poor Kurt." Paula and Poor Kurt become friends, enduring hardship and loss over the course their stay at the shelter. After the war, Paula returns home and brings Poor Kurt with her. She learns his real name is Walthar, that he had disguised himself as an old beggar, but is really a young man. He gets work on a nearby farm and a few years later, he and Paula marry. Though they are happy, their guilt over surviving while so many perished, persists. Written in graceful free verse in Paula's voice, this is a riveting account of yet another horror of the Holocaust. Reviewer: Miriam Chernick
KLIATT - Janis Flint-Ferguson
Tiergartenstrasse 4 was the address of the headquarters in Berlin where the Nazi program to exterminate children with disabilities was drafted. Just as concentration camps sought to eliminate Jews, Gypsies and homosexuals from the nation, T4 was a diabolical program that convinced parents that their children would be better cared for by the government, when in reality they were being euthanized. Paula Becker is deaf and friends of her family are aware that T4 will allow officials to take her away permanently. So Paula starts a journey that takes her into hiding and brings her into the world of Old Kurt. Told in free verse, this is a gentle retelling of a horrific situation. Old Kurt helps her to hide her disability. He has his own secrets to hide and the two develop a deep and trusting relationship. The novel is a great addition to the canon of WW II YA literature, helping readers to understand how being different at this time was a dangerous thing. Reviewer: Janis Flint-Ferguson
School Library Journal

Gr 6 Up

Thirteen-year-old Paula Becker is Deaf during a time when people with disabilities are ordered to be killed in Hitler's Tiergartenstrasse 4, T4. Through the help of a priest, she is hidden on the farm of a retired teacher and, when almost discovered, is moved to a homeless shelter in a church until she can return home. Telling her story through first-person free-verse poems, she draws readers into her world, sharing her fear, desperation, and uncertainty as she struggles to survive. Even though this is a short and quick read, this novel will have a lasting effect on readers, giving insight into an often-forgotten aspect of the horrors of the Third Reich. The unique writing style makes this a good choice for reluctant as well as proficient readers.-Denise Moore, O'Gorman Junior High School, Sioux Falls, SD

Kirkus Reviews
Paula Becker, deaf since infancy, lives in a small German town with her loving family until the Nazi government initiates Action T4, a program whose ultimate goal is to euthanize people with disabilities. For her safety, Paula is sent into hiding, first with a woman who teaches her to sign, then to a church shelter. There she meets Kurt, a strange man who persuades her to leave with him. They wander toward Berlin, but after a brief sojourn with a Jewish family in hiding, they return to the shelter. When T4 officially ends, Paula returns home, bringing Kurt with her. This short, debut novel-in-verse by a deaf author is thin on characterization and confusing in chronology. Brief, generic vignettes fail to bring the story to life. LeZotte repeatedly cuts away from the action to explain historical context and define terms, content better suited to a prose introduction or afterword than to verse. Nonetheless, behind what reads like a fictionalized historical summary for young children are hints of a genuine literary gift. (Historical fiction. 9-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547046846
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/22/2008
  • Pages: 108
  • Sales rank: 381,817
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Ann Clare LeZotte is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and she has had her poems published in the American Poetry Review, the New Republic, and the Threepenny Review. She lives in Gainesville, Florida. She is completely deaf.

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Read an Excerpt

1.

Hear the Voice of the Poet

Hear the voice of the poet!

I see the past, future, and present.

I am Deaf, but I have heard

The beauty of song

And I wish to share it with

Young readers.

A poem can be simple,

About a cat or a red

Wheelbarrow.

Or it can illuminate the lives

Of people who lived, loved,

And died. You can make

People think or feel

For other people, if you

Write poetry. In T4, the facts

About history are true, and

My characters tell the story.

2.

I was born

In a little house

On a street

With tall poplar trees.

I could see

Bluish hills

In the distance.

That was my home.

But my country,

Germany,

Was not my home.

Our leader,

Adolf Hitler,

And the Nazi Party

Hated

People like me.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(6)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

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1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 30, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Emily Ann for TeensReadToo.com

    Everyone knows about the Holocaust, but not many people know much about Action T4. <BR/><BR/>T4 was a program Hitler used to sterilize and/or kill thousands of Jews with disabilities. People like Paula Becker, a deaf girl, were forced into hiding to save their lives. In her free verse poetry, Paula talks about hiding and running from Hitler and the T4 doctors. <BR/><BR/>This book was captivating. Before reading it I had never heard of Action T4. It was amazing to read a story through the eyes of a young girl as she is forced to leave her parents and go into hiding. <BR/><BR/>This was a short, easy read that anyone would appreciate.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2012

    I loved this book!

    Amazing very well written

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2012

    Is this good

    I dont know wether or not to buy this book normaly i read the posts other people make to get a better idea about the book but there arent any posts so i will write the first one this seems like a good slash boring book im totally torn if anyone reads and decides on this book please tell me

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted April 5, 2012

    Loving and trustwothy she is

    This book is the best way took look back on history in poetic scripture. You'll be thinking " Why did she do that, i most likely would'nt do that.""What's gonna happen,is she going to die?"

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted November 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews

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