Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 01/01/2017 Gr 6–8—Middle schoolers will be engrossed by Bornstein's account (written with the help of his daughter) of his and his family's survival during the Holocaust. Bornstein was born in the town of Zarki, Poland, which had largely become a Jewish ghetto after the Nazi invasion. For years, his parents survived through bribery and good fortune, but ultimately they, along with the entire Jewish population of the town, were sent to concentration camps (the Bornsteins to Auschwitz, specifically). When the Soviet Army liberated Auschwitz, Bornstein was four years old and accompanied only by his grandmother. (His father and brother were dead, and his mother was presumed dead.) The remaining Bornstein clan would eventually immigrate to the United States. The book is written in a soothing tone, which helps balance some of the grim details of Jewish life under the Nazi regime. In the preface, Bornstein explains why he chose to finally chronicle his experiences (a picture of him during the camp's liberation was being used by Holocaust deniers). The storytelling is fast-paced, and readers will be fascinated by this family's survival and endurance. VERDICT Few Holocaust survivors are still alive; Bornstein's account is an excellent addition to middle school collections.—Esther Keller, I.S. 278, Brooklyn - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 02/01/2017 In 1940, Michael Bornstein was born in Zarki, Poland—then a Nazi-occupied ghetto. In 1944, Michael and his family arrived at Auschwitz. Miraculously, in 1953, Michael celebrated his bar mitzvah in New York City. Here, with the help of his television news producer daughter, he recounts the spectacular story of his survival. The duo chronologically document the Germans’ ruthless occupation—and eventual liquidation—of Zarki; the Bornsteins’ compulsory stint at an ammunitions factory; their tragic trek to Auschwitz; and the aftermath of the war in a land ruptured by unconscionable brutality and bigotry. But this account is shaped less by events than it is people: Michael’s father, Israel, with his dangerous devotion to a crumbling community; Michael’s infinitely courageous Mamishu; his ever-resilient grandmother; and his stubbornly spirited slew of aunts, uncles, and cousins. Sprinkled with Yiddish and appended by an informative afterword, captioned photos, and brief glossary, the first-person narrative is a tenderly wrought tribute to family, to hope, and to the miracles both can bring. A powerful memoir for the middle-grade set. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.