Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Yellow Star

Yellow Star

4.6 61
by Jennifer Roy, Tavia Gilbert (Read by)

See All Formats & Editions

"In 1945 the war ended. The Germans surrendered, and the ghetto was liberated. Out of over a quarter of a million people, about 800 walked out of the ghetto. Of those who survived, only twelve were children. I was one of the twelve." For more than fifty years after the war, Syvia, like many Holocaust survivors, did not talk about her experiences in the Lodz ghetto in


"In 1945 the war ended. The Germans surrendered, and the ghetto was liberated. Out of over a quarter of a million people, about 800 walked out of the ghetto. Of those who survived, only twelve were children. I was one of the twelve." For more than fifty years after the war, Syvia, like many Holocaust survivors, did not talk about her experiences in the Lodz ghetto in Poland. She buried her past in order to move forward. But finally she decided it was time to share her story, and so she told it to her niece, who has re-told it here using free verse inspired by her aunt. This is the true story of Syvia Perlmutter—a story of courage, heartbreak, and finally survival despite the terrible circumstances in which she grew up. A timeline, historical notes, and an author's note are included.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal - Audio
Gr 5–9—During the Holocaust, Nazi officials established the Lodz Ghetto in Poland, a desolate home to more than 245,000 Jews. Only 877 survived, including just 12 children. This story-in-verse (Amazon Children's Pub., 2008) offers listeners a glimpse of the experiences of Syvia Perlmutter, Roy's aunt, in the Lodz Ghetto from 1939, when she was just four years old, through 1945. Through Syvia's eyes, we learn of the loving family who tried to endure unbelievable deprivations, seeing conditions deteriorate and neighbors disappear daily. Roy recreated these vignettes from her aunt's taped narrative. Tavia Gilbert's narration brings Syvia, her family members, and friends to life. While some pronunciations are questionable (Chelm-EH-no, Ha-VAH), the overall effect is authentic. Though Holocaust study is usually reserved for older students, this personal account serves as a rare foray into the perceptions and impressions of a little girl amidst grave realities. Family love and support somehow overpower the heinous forces which would destroy all in the Ghetto, and Syvia manages to endure by cooperating with her courageous parents. Winner of several literary awards, this is a unique choice for understanding the dark years of Holocaust history, with a glimmer of hope emanating from one little girl who survived.—Robin Levin, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Teacher/Fellow, Ft. Washakie, WY
Publishers Weekly
In February 1940, four-and-half-year-old Syvia (later Sylvia) Perlmutter, her mother, father and 12-year-old sister, Dora, were among the first of more than 250,000 Jews to be forced into Poland's Lodz Ghetto. When the Russians liberated the ghetto on January 19, 1945, the Perlmutters were among only 800 people left alive; Syvia, "one day shy of ten years old," was one of just 12 children to survive the ordeal. The novel is filled with searing incidents of cruelty and deprivation, love, luck and resilience. But what sets it apart is the lyricism of the narrative, and Syvia's credible childlike voice, maturing with each chapter, as she gains further understanding of the events around her. Roy, who is Syvia's niece, tells her aunt's story in first-person free verse. "February 1940" begins: "I am walking/ into the ghetto./ My sister holds my hand/ so that I don't/ get lost/ or trampled/ by the crowd of people/ wearing yellow stars,/ carrying possessions,/ moving into the ghetto." The rhythms, repetitions and the space around each verse enable readers to take in the experience of an ordinary child caught up in incomprehensible events: "I could be taken away/ on a train,/ .../ and delivered to Germans/ who say that nothing belongs to Jewish people any-/ more./ Not even their own children." Nearly every detail-a pear Syvia bravely plucks from a tree in the ghetto, a rag doll she makes when her family must sell her own beloved doll-underscores the wedded paradox of hope and fear, joy and pain. Ages 10-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
During World War II, 270,000 Jews were herded into the Lodz ghetto in Poland. By war's end only 800 of those people had survived. Among the 800 survivors were twelve children. The true story of one of one of those survivors is told in this free verse tale of a young life in peril. Sylvia Perlmutter was four-years-old when the war started. When the Germans came to Lodz, her family could hardly imagine just how horrible they would be. Soon the Perlmutter family, as well as all the Jews in Lodz and surrounding areas, were crowded into a small walled off portion of the city. There, Sylvia and her family tried to scratch out a life for themselves. Over time virtually everyone they knew was transported out of the ghetto. Those people ended up in concentration camps where almost every single one of them died. The Perlmutters were both resourceful and lucky--they survived. Years later Sylvia shared her story with her niece, Jennifer Roy, and those stories became this moving work. Told in a free verse format, Yellow Star recreates the world of the Perlmutters as seen through the eyes of a little girl. Readers will encounter the tragedies and small pleasures of daily life that existed in those dark days. In the end, Sylvia and her family emigrated to North America and established a life that continues down through the generations of their family. The story of Sylvia and her family is an inspiring one and has been ably told in this poetic book. 2006, Marshal Cavendish, $ 16.95. Ages 10 up.
—Greg M. Romaneck
This wonderfully written first novel is based on the experiences of Syvia Perlmutter, one of only twelve children who survived the Lodz ghetto in Poland during World War II. Roy interviewed Perlmutter, who is actually her aunt, in 2003. Short "poems" and simple language appropriate for Syvia's age make the book a quick but poignant read. Syvia was four years old when her family reported to Lodz along with more than 270,000 others. In 1942, the Nazis began deporting children from Lodz to the Chelmno extermination camp. Parents were told that their children were being taken to safety, but Syvia's father suspected that the children would be killed and sought ways to hide her. The most inconspicuous hiding place was a graveyard where Syvia and her father lay in a shallow grave. When the final train departed Lodz headed for Auschwitz-Birkenau, only 1,200 Jews were left behind to clean the ghetto. Among them were twelve children whom they smuggled into a cellar. The survivors huddled together in 1945 while Russian soldiers bombed Lodz, but they were eventually liberated when the soldiers saw the reflection of their yellow stars of David. After five and a half years in the ghetto, Syvia spent her teen years in Paris and then later moved to Albany, New York. She now volunteers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Social studies teachers and general readers will find the author's note, time line, and brief historical details prefacing each of the five parts of the book invaluable. This book is an essential purchase for school, public, and classroom libraries. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High,defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2006, Marshall Cavendish, 256p., Ages 12 to 18.
—KaaVonia Hinton Johnson
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-In thoughtful, vividly descriptive, almost poetic prose, Roy retells the true story of her Aunt Syvia's experiences in the Lodz Ghetto during the Nazi occupation of Poland. The slightly fictionalized story, re-created from her aunt's taped narrative, is related by Syvia herself as a series of titled vignettes that cover the period from fall, 1939, when she is four years old, until January 1945-each one recounting a particular detail-filled memory in the child's life (a happy-colored yellow star sewn on her favorite orange coat; a hole in the cemetery where she hides overnight with her Papa). The book is divided into five chronological sections-each with a short factual introduction to the period covered. An appended author's note tells what happened to Syvia's family after the war. A time line of World War II, beginning with the German invasion of Poland, is also included. This gripping and very readable narrative, filled with the astute observations of a young child, brings to life the Jewish ghetto experience in a unique and memorable way. This book is a standout in the genre of Holocaust literature.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Syvia-the author's aunt-is too young to know what's happening, but she and her family have been evicted from their home and, with the other neighborhood Jews, have been relocated to the Lodz ghetto at the start of WWII. This novel-in-verse tells how Syvia and her family struggled to survive the war and describes their lives in the ghetto, Syvia being one of only 12 children who walked out at the end of the war. Poetry blends fact and fiction in a powerful format that helps make this incomprehensible event in history comprehensible for children. The fictionalized story is given context by brief nonfiction chapter introductions and is personalized by vivid characters who speak to a young-adult audience. Young readers will find this gripping tale that reads like memoir textured with the sounds, smell and sights of children in captivity. By telling this story so credibly and convincingly through the eyes of a child, the terror of the experience is rendered fresh and palpable for even the most jaded child reader. Classroom teachers might want to partner this book with Jerry Spinelli's Milkweed (2003). (Historical fiction. 10+)

Product Details

Brilliance Audio
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
7.12(w) x 6.50(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
10 - 13 Years

Meet the Author

Jennifer Roy is the author of more than thirty books for children and young adults, including Israel: Discovering Cultures and Mindblind. A former Gifted and Talented teacher, she holds a BS in Psychology and an MA in Elementary Education.

Yellow Star is based on the childhood of Jennifer’s aunt Sylvia, who provided extensive interviews as the author was writing this book.

Jennifer Roy lives in upstate New York with her husband and son.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Yellow Star 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 61 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was absolutely wonderful! Jennifer Roy told her aunt's 'Syvia' story in the first person, as if Syvia were telling the story herself. This is the story of how five year old Syvia and how her family was forced from their home in Lodz, Polland into the Lodz ghetto after the German Nazis invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Syvia and her family lived in the Lodz ghetto for five years. The conditions they were forced to live in were horrific...However, one thing I definately liked about this story was even though there were specific tragic events that took place, the story wasn't as graphic as other books I've read about the holocaust. Other Jewish accounts I've read were much more graphic and told specific details about how the Jews were starved, beaten, neglected, and killed. This book does describe how horrible the Jews were treated at the Lodz ghetto but it wasn't so graphic that you would not want young adults to read it. This would be an excellent book for young adults to read that would allow them to see what it was like to be a young child of 5-9 during the holocaust without all of the super gory details.
91196 More than 1 year ago
i never thought i would like a book like this but i loved it i also recommend it
Cougar_H More than 1 year ago
Here is a little girl who saw neighbors, cousins and playmates "disappear" all around her every day. A girl of 5 hides in a hole behind a tombstone for survival's sake and tomorrow thanks God for her family's well-being and for the meager ration of watery "soup" and weak coffee that was smuggled to her daily. What moved me personally was how behind the words of fear and horror a testimony of the importance of cherishing life and it's daily miracles through a child's eyes radiated profoundly. It amazed me how much this little girl had been wishing and yearning to go to school and learn. For example, Syvia, the main character, loved it when her older sister, Dora, taught her the alphabet on the dirt floor of their so-called apartment, and today, all I was thinking, as I walked from class to class was, "Ugh! I have SO much homework tonight! I hate school!" Other Holocaust books talk about loss of faith and the betrayal of God, but this one portrays the importance of faith and Him. Syvia and her family saw God on their side as they were spared daily. Isaac, Syvia's father, thrust his life in harm's way to reserve her's. To what extent would you go to save a loved one's life? Imagine, walking bare foot, through snow 2 feet tall, on an empty stomach, bombs bursting everywhere, confused and scared all at the same time! It's hard to paint that specific picture, but this was reality to the 800 survivors fleeing Lodz ghetto. This story has opened up my eyes a little wider and has impressed me to let my family, friends and neighbors know, daily, how much I love and care for them before they leave this state of being.
mejojo More than 1 year ago
I was so moved by this book that I passed it on to two of my children, ages 13 and 16, two of their teachers, and some friends. I have recommended two books (historical fiction) below on this subject.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you liked this book then you might be interested in The Diary of a Young Girl- Anne Frank. It was the diary that Anne kept while she was in hiding from the Nazis. It is very interesting and talks about how she feels as if she grows more independent because of her circumstances and the fact that shes been locked up in a place where you must always be quiet and secretve. It is a very good book and i hope that you will take it into consideration. It only costs 5.99 and is sure to give you a first hand expierience of what it was like to lie during the Holocuast. Bye now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a great book u guys and women would love it its about a mother fathwr and there two daughters i cryed when i read this book... great book ever!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It really is a five star book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really loved this book. I can't believe this book is actually a true story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recently read the hard cover copy of this nook for a school project and i loved the book! Well i no longer have that book so i bought it for my nook so that i can write a paper o it and its hard to navigate necause its in a different format then the actual book. :(
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book cause while reading it as if it was the little girl telling it as if she was still 10 years old. Not so graphic but still straight to the point. I read alot about this subject and alot different then others. The family stuck together and helped all the 12 children and the strength they all had is amazing. Must read!
Hailey Sinoff More than 1 year ago
Best book ever. I am11and i love this book and it made me very interested in world war 2.
Guest More than 1 year ago
the book Yellow star was a great story. Its about a four year old girl, Syvia. She and her family are Jews and are forced into the Lodz Ghetto. After I read the book, I got so intrested in World WAr ll. THis book will make you understand a young girls point of view of living and surviving the Lodz ghetto. Syvias parents risked everything for her. This will make you cry, laugh and hate the Nazis. You won't regret reading this book!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing i have red it 3 times alredy this is totaly awesome and am alredy go ing to start the 4 th time
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Syvia's story is absolutely inspiring. This book tells about one family throughout the holocaust. A horrible tradjety, but breathtaking nonetheless. One of the best books I have ever read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I have ever read. Even though it's about the holacaust it's still a good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As little Syvia struggles to survive, she doesn't lose her virtuous hope of a better tomorrow. An inspiring story of optimism in extreme hardship, Syvia teaches us to press on and fear not what lay ahead.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a great book! I want to read it again!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kinda funny sometimes actually.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written history of truly heroic, brave people.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book in the world
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book so nice
Anonymous More than 1 year ago