|When the world was ours|
Author: Kessler, Liz
Three young friends--Leo, Elsa, and Ma--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? Based on a true story.
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|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG+
Reading Level: 4.40
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 513443
Kirkus Reviews (04/01/21)
School Library Journal (+) (04/01/21)
Booklist (+) (05/15/21)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/05/21)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 04/01/2021 Gr 4–7—Inspired by her family's history, Kessler tells a story of the Holocaust from the point of view of three children: Elsa, Leo, and Max, best friends who live in Vienna. The story opens in 1936 when the children are nine, and as they age, their thoughts and actions develop in sophistication. At the start of Hitler's rise to power, Max's father forbids him to play with his only two friends because they are Jewish. The lives of all three are torn apart when Elsa's family moves to Czechoslovakia seeking a safe haven, Leo's father is imprisoned and his family tries to get out of Austria to a safer country, and Max's father, an SS officer, moves his family to Munich while he works at Dachau. Kessler does not try to paint a pretty picture when Elsa ends up at a death camp and Max becomes a zealous member of the Hitler youth; the once-friends have become teens caught in a situation where suffering and humiliation are daily occurrences. This is a well-researched story that portrays life as it was during the horrors of World War II in Europe. VERDICT A must-have addition to any middle school collection that could easily become a classic like Lois Lowry's Number the Stars.—Elizabeth Kahn, Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Acad., Avondale, LA - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 05/15/2021 *Starred Review* Best friends Leo, Elsa, and Max are celebrating Leo’s ninth birthday in 1936 Vienna. Leo’s papa takes their picture, and as their lives spin apart during the next five years, all three depend on their copy of that picture as a touchstone. Elsa, who is Jewish, loses her home, is forced into a ghetto, and is eventually transported to Auschwitz. Leo is Jewish, too, and after his papa is arrested, Leo and his mother try to escape Austria. Max, who was a bullied outcast before he met Elsa and Leo, is the son of a high-ranking Nazi, and he embraces the brainwashing camaraderie of the Hitler Youth movement. The heartbreaking narrative follows the characters across time and space as they age and struggle down their separate paths. And though they still remain connected to one another, a reunion now may bring only grief. Based on the real-life experiences of author Kessler’s relatives, the narrative is brutally honest and totally believable. Readers share the inner thoughts of each character as they adapt to their unimaginable circumstances. Despite the characters’ initial grade-school ages, this emotional novel is best suited for older middle-grade readers. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.