Playing For The Commandant

“Look after each other and get home safe. And when you do, tell everyone what you saw and what they did to us.” These are Hanna’s father’s parting words to her and her sister when their family is separated at the gates of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Her father’s words — and a black C-sharp piano key hidden away in the folds of her dress — are all that she has left to remind her of life before. Before, Hanna was going to be a famous concert pianist. She was going to wear her yellow dress to a dance. And she was going to dance with a boy. But then the Nazis came. Now it is up to Hanna to do all she can to keep her mother and sister alive, even if that means playing piano for the commandant and his guests. Staying alive isn’t supposed to include falling in love with the commandant’s son. But Karl Jager is beautiful, and his aloofness belies a secret. And war makes you do dangerous things.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume VII, Issue 3

Vango

A breathless adventure from international award winner Timothée de Fombelle charts a desperate search for identity across the vast expanses of Europe. In a world between wars, a young man on the cusp of taking priestly vows is suddenly made a fugitive. Fleeing the accusations of police who blame him for a murder, as well as more sinister forces with darker intentions, Vango attempts to trace the secrets of his shrouded past and prove his innocence before all is lost. As he crisscrosses the continent via train, boat, and even the Graf Zeppelin airship, his adventures take him from Parisian rooftops to Mediterranean islands to Scottish forests. A mysterious, unforgettable, and romantic protagonist, Vango tells a thrilling story sure to captivate lovers of daring escapades and subversive heroes.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume VIII, Issue 1.

The Nazi Hunters

In 1945, at the end of World War II, Adolf Eichmann, the head of operations for the Nazis’ Final Solution, walked into the mountains of Germany and vanished from view. Sixteen years later, an elite team of spies captured him at a bus stop in Argentina and smuggled him to Israel, resulting in one of the century’s most important trials — one that cemented the Holocaust in the public imagination.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume 7, Issue 1

Rescuing the Children: The Story of the Kindertransport

This important book tells the story of how ten thousand Jewish children were rescued out of Nazi Europe just before the outbreak of World War II. They were saved by the Kindertransport — a rescue mission that transported the children (or Kinder) from Nazi-ruled countries to safety in Britain.

The book includes real-life accounts of the children and is illustrated with archival photographs, paintings of pre-war Nazi Germany by artist, Hans Jackson, and original art by the Kinder commemorating their rescue.

Defiance

When Nazis invade, what can kids do to fight them? World War II has taken its toll on the French countryside. German soldiers patrol the towns, searching for any challenge to their rule. The Tessier siblings, Paul, Marie, and Sophie, keep their noses clean and their faces blank as the French military police tighten their grip on their small country town. But all three are secretly doing their part for the Resistance: the men and women working hard to undermine the Germans and win back France’s freedom . . . even if it ends up costing them their lives.

Michael at the Invasion of France 1943

When the Nazis invade Paris, Michael, a thirteen-year- old French-American, wants to be a part of the Resistance. Starting small, vandalizing Nazi propaganda and refusing to hail Hitler, Michael works his way into the full-blown Resistance, escorting American aviators to safe zones and delivering important spy documents. But when an injured pilot needs help to escape France, will Michael be brave enough to complete the mission? With historical notes, time lines, and maps to augment the page-turning action, it’s easy to see why School Library Journal says Boys of Wartime “will appeal to history buffs and reluctant readers alike.”

My Family for the War

Before the start of World War II, ten-year-old Ziska Mangold, who has Jewish ancestors but has been raised as a Protestant, is taken out of Nazi Germany on one of the Kindertransport trains, to live in London with a Jewish family, where she learns about Judaism and endures the hardships of war while attempting to keep in touch with her parents, who are trying to survive in Holland.