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It is 1941. Fourteen-year-old Ben Friedman flees the horrors of Nazi Germany with his parents and his sister, leaving behind his grandparents, his friends, his home. They make a difficult journey over land and sea all the way to Japan and then to America. In Seattle, Ben dares to hope that he will finally be safe. He finds a friend in John, a Japanese-American boy, but then comes the attack on Pearl Harbor and everything changes. Fear begins to grow in Ben, fear that it is all happening again. Where can he be ...
It is 1941. Fourteen-year-old Ben Friedman flees the horrors of Nazi Germany with his parents and his sister, leaving behind his grandparents, his friends, his home. They make a difficult journey over land and sea all the way to Japan and then to America. In Seattle, Ben dares to hope that he will finally be safe. He finds a friend in John, a Japanese-American boy, but then comes the attack on Pearl Harbor and everything changes. Fear begins to grow in Ben, fear that it is all happening again. Where can he be safe? What should he do? He dreams of Canada, thinking it a haven, only to find that he has nowhere to turn, nowhere to run. Perhaps safety is not where or even what he thinks it is. Perhaps life is not what he imagined at all.
Gr 6 & Up - Benjamin Friedman, a 15-year-old Jewish boy, fears for his life in Nazi Germany. Fortunately, his family is able to escape Hitler, arriving in Seattle in the summer of 1941. Ben is relieved to be there but is upset and confused by his experiences. He blames his father for not taking action earlier as well as for his inability to secure American visas for the boy's grandparents. The teen tries to settle into his new life but faces bullying because he is German. He is afraid for John, his Japanese-American classmate, and tries to convince his friend and his own family that America is not safe and that they must flee to Canada. No one understands Ben's concerns-they believe he is ill-and this only makes him more determined to take matters into his own hands. After John's family is sent to an internment camp and the Friedmans' house is attacked, Ben runs away to Canada. It is not the safe haven he imagined, and he realizes that perhaps he was mistaken about many things. This unique and thought-provoking story shows what prejudice and indifference to suffering and wrongdoing can lead to. It imparts an understanding of the Holocaust and World War II without the explicitness present in other books on the subject.-Donna Rosenblum, Nassau Boces School Library System, NYCopyright 2007 Reed Business Information
The front window had been shattered by a huge rock that was now lying on the floor of the store. Father ran outside. I followed. A banner was hanging from the door...In large, red, hand-painted letters were the words:
Germans go home.
Posted March 18, 2009
The terrible, hateful, astonishing things that Ben Freidman saw during the holocaust will take your breath away. These experiences told through his eyes are not only heartfelt and empathizing, but will also open your eyes to a whole new level of understanding.
This fiction novel seems as though you are talking one on one with Ben Freidman yourself. Ben brings interest to readers through his unique approach and expresses his inner thoughts and feelings of how he felt during this dreadful time. You are the interviewer questioning the interviewee, Ben.
The Whirlwind by Carol Matas will captivate you and keep the readers guessing anxiously. Ben Freidman, a 14 year old Jewish child during the holocaust and WWII was separated from his grandparents, cousin and best friend, Elizabeth. For himself, his parents, and his little sister, freedom lies in Seattle. But the rest of his family isn't so fortunate. They stay put in Germany among war and prejudice. When Ben and his family arrive in Seattle, he is overcome with excitement and worry. He sees freedom awaiting him but fears the future when Pearl Harbor is attacked by the Japanese army. He befriends a Japanese American shortly after arriving in Seattle and is faced with the decision of keeping this society acclaimed "spy" as his best friend or focusing all of his attention on protecting his own family against American Nazi haters.
I give this book a four star rating. It is intriguing and insightful and keeps the reader reading. Being simple and straightforward, this Carol Matas novel is easily understood and a must read to all holocaust historians.