In July 1944, as the Red Army drives the Nazis out of Poland, sixteen-year-old Maria Kamińska must work with a captured Ukrainian nationalist to find her brother, who is a special operations agent and leader of a Polish Resistance squad, when he disappears while on a mission.
In 1941, fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother, and brother are pulled from their Lithuanian home by Soviet guards and sent to Siberia, where her father is sentenced to death in a prison camp while she fights for her life, vowing to honor her family and the thousands like hers by burying her story in a jar on Lithuanian soil. Based on the author’s family, includes a historical note.
Seventeen-year-old Tolya Korolenko is half Ukrainian, half Polish, and he joined the Soviet Red Army to keep himself alive and fed. When he not-quite-accidentally shoots his unit’s political officer in the street, he’s rescued by a squad of Ukrainian freedom fighters. They might have saved him, but Tolya doesn’t trust them. He especially doesn’t trust Solovey, the squad’s war-scarred young leader, who has plenty of secrets of his own.
In 1946 Eva arrives in New York City, from the rubble of Berlin, supposedly looking for a new life, but actually seeking justice against the Nazis that “escaped” with the help of the CIA; one in particular, the doctor who knows who Eva really is, because her identity is the product Project Bluebird, an experiment of the concentration camps involving brainwashing and mind control, which both the Americans and the Soviets would like access to–and Eva does not know if she can trust anyone she meets, least of all Jake Katz, the young man she is attracted to.
Three young friends—Leo, Elsa, and Max—spend a perfect day together, unaware that around them Europe is descending into a growing darkness and that they will soon be cruelly ripped apart from one another. With their lives taking them across Europe—to Germany, England, Prague, and Poland—will they ever find their way back to one another? Will they want to?
Inspired by a true story, When the World Was Ours is an extraordinary novel that is as powerful as it is heartbreaking and that shows how the bonds of love, family, and friendship allow glimmers of hope to flourish, even in the most hopeless of times.
When a boy struggles after moving to a Japanese internment camp during WWII, baseball shows him another way to approach life. Sandy Saito is a happy boy who reads comic books and is obsessed with baseball — especially the Asahi team, the pride of his Japanese Canadian community. But when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, his life, like that of every other North American of Japanese descent, changes forever. His family is forced to move to a remote internment camp, and his father must spend months away from them. Sandy, his mother and his brother cope as best they can with the difficulties at the camp. Over time, Sandy comes to realize that life is a lot like baseball. It’s about dealing with whatever is thrown at you, however you can.
Off the coast of Ireland, on the island of Hybrasil, lives a Magician and four enchanted rabbit sisters. One by one, the rabbits have been leaving the island, accompanied by a Boy and his boat. When the rabbits leave, they can turn back into girls. The last rabbit, Albie, remains. She doesn’t want to leave, but the island is sinking. Before deciding where she wants to go, Albie visits each of her sisters. Caragh has joined a circus. Isolde is the captain of a pirate ship. And Rory wants to go home to the family’s house in Cork. Through many furry twists and hoppity turns, we learn how one mistake can lead to many consequences, and that forgiveness and family are always within reach.
It is 1940 and William, 12, Edmund, 11, and Anna, 9, aren’t terribly upset by the death of the not-so-grandmotherly grandmother who has taken care of them since their parents died. But the children do need a guardian, and in the dark days of World War II London, those are in short supply, especially if they hope to stay together. Could the mass wartime evacuation of children from London to the countryside be the answer?
It’s a preposterous plan, but off they go– keeping their predicament a secret, and hoping to be placed in a temporary home that ends up lasting forever. Moving from one billet to another, the children suffer the cruel trickery of foster brothers, the cold realities of outdoor toilets and the hollowness of empty stomachs. They find comfort in the village lending library, whose kind librarian, Nora Müller, seems an excellent choice of billet, except that her German husband’s whereabouts are currently unknown, and some of the villagers consider her unsuitable.
In 1938, Lisa Platt and her family know something dangerous is happening in Germany. Lately, there have been more and more restrictions for Jews: yellow stars they have to wear, schools they cannot attend, things they are forbidden to do. When their neighbors are arrested for petty reasons, the Platts realize they have to escape.
Forbidden to bring money or possessions out of the country, Lisa’s father secretly leaves for America, planning to work until he can send for them. But when conditions in Germany worsen, Lisa, her mother, and her sisters flee to Switzerland to wait, surviving on what little they have in a continent hurtling toward war.
A magnificent narrative inspired by a true survival story that asks universal questions about a young girl’s coming of age story, her identity, her passions, and her first loves.