Author: Korman, Gordon
Link, Michael, and Dana live in a quiet town. But it's woken up very quickly when someone sneaks into school and vandalizes it with a swastika. Nobody can believe it. How could such a symbol of hate end up in the middle of their school? The mystery deepens as more swastikas begin to appear. Some students decide to fight back and start a project to bring people together instead of dividing them further.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 512586
Kirkus Reviews (06/01/21)
School Library Journal (07/01/21)
Booklist (+) (04/15/21)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 04/15/2021 *Starred Review* In the end, Korman’s latest is about tolerance and forgiveness, and that can never be a bad thing—though not all the strong reactions it’s going to provoke will be positive. As related by several young narrators, some of whom turn out to be unreliable, the appearance of a swastika splashed onto the wall of a small Colorado town’s middle school kicks off instant responses that begin with units of “tolerance education” in school. As further swastikas appear but no culprit can be found, a massive effort to create a six-million-link paper chain as an expression of solidarity and remembrance begins. Local feelings vary, but those of two narrators take center stage. Dana, a recent arrival and the school’s only Jewish student, is moderately bemused and annoyed by the way she’s suddenly being treated differently. Prankster and star jock Link, on the other hand, is so shocked to learn that his grandmother is a Holocaust survivor that he contacts a rabbi and asks for a bar mitzvah. Further controversy stirs as the national attention the town draws revives long-suppressed memories of a “Night of a Thousand Flames,” when, 40 years before, the then-strong KKK lit up the county with burning crosses. Bringing the past into the present and moving beyond pure emotional manipulation, this wrenching story offers much to ponder and few, if any, easy answers. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 07/01/2021 Gr 4–8—In a small Colorado town, lives are changed and secrets are unearthed when swastikas start appearing at the local middle school. Dana, the only Jewish girl, is on edge. Michael, the head of the art club, and Caroline, the class president, are organizing a paper chain six million links long in honor of Jewish Holocaust victims. Link, the most popular seventh grader, learns that as an infant his grandmother was saved in a Catholic nunnery from the Nazis. As the story unfolds, a popular YouTuber brings attention to the town, and Link, after learning about his Jewish ancestry, decides to have a bar mitzvah. All the while, everyone is trying to figure out who keeps drawing swastikas. In typical Korman style, this novel pulls readers in with its character development and engrossing, heartfelt story line. While the story tackles big issues such as the Holocaust and generational discrimination, the writing style remains upbeat and easy, making this a good choice for reluctant and avid readers. Five students and the YouTuber voice the chapters, bringing depth to each character's perspective. Struggles with challenging decisions, friendships, and self-discovery are common middle grade issues that readers will relate to. Some readers may be shocked to learn about the origin of the swastikas, and all will be elated by the celebratory ending. VERDICT A must-purchase, especially where Korman books are popular.—Kate Rao, Alhambra Civic Center Lib., Alhambra, CA - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.