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Author: Thor, Annika
In 1939 Sweden, two Jewish sisters wait for their parents to flee the Nazis, but while the younger sister adapts, the older one feels stranded with a cold, unforgiving foster mother.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.40
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 134016
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.20
Points: 12.0 Quiz: 48523
Common Core Standards
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 6 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo
Kirkus Reviews (10/01/09)
School Library Journal (12/01/09)
The Hornbook (+) (01/10)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 10/01/2009 In 1939, Jewish sisters Stephie and Nellie Steiner are evacuated from their home in Nazi-occupied Vienna to an island off the coast of Sweden, where separate foster families take them in. Eight-year-old Nellie adjusts very quickly—learning Swedish, making friends, and enjoying her new foster siblings. Twelve-year-old Stephie has more difficulties—she is tormented by school bullies, must deal with a cold and critical foster mother, and worries about her parents’ safety. Thor successfully captures the feel of small-town Sweden circa 1939-40, with its kindly citizens devoted to Christianity and good works who nevertheless harbor latent anti-Semitic views. The translation is mostly smooth, and the use of third-person present tense narration helps distance readers from Holocaust realities while subtly reminding them that child refugees still exist. The first of four volumes featuring the Steiner sisters, this should be popular with fans of Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars (1989) and make a good bridge to more visceral memoirs such as Anita Lobel’s No Pretty Pictures: A Child of War (1998). - Copyright 2009 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 12/01/2009 Gr 5–8— In this gripping story, Stephie and Nellie, two Austrian Jewish sisters, are evacuated in 1938 from Vienna to a Swedish island and placed in separate foster homes. Twelve-year-old Stephie has promised her parents that she will try to ease her younger sister's way, a burdensome promise to keep. Auntie Alma, Nellie's Swedish mother, is warmer and more welcoming than Auntie Mrta, Stephie's more austere foster parent. At first it seems that Nellie will have a more difficult time adjusting, but the opposite happens. Loneliness and a sense of isolation engulf Stephie. The shunning and taunting of cliquish, bigoted girls intensify her longing for home and the familiar, but Stephie bravely perseveres, bolstered by the hope that she will only be separated from her parents for a short time. Unfortunately this does not happen, and the girls must remain on this faraway island. Children will readily empathize with Stephie's courage. Both sisters are well-drawn, likable characters. This is the first of four books Thor has written about the two girls. It is an excellent companion to Lois Lowry's Number the Stars (Houghton, 1989), Kit Pearson's The Sky Is Falling (Viking, 1990; o.p.), and Olga Levy Drucker's Kindertransport (Holt, 1995).—Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ - Copyright 2009 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.