for The Endless Steppe
by Esther Hautzig
Nine-year-old Esther Hautzig's idyllic childhood in Vilna, Poland ceases in June 1941 when the Russian military force her, her father, mother and grandmother into exile in Siberia on charges of "capitalism." During their six long years there, the family bakes in summer, freezes in winter, hungers constantly and toils endlessly. The numbing effects of the family's isolation and deprivation as Jewish deportees stands in heartbreaking contrast to Esther's incongruous optimism and her willful resilience. The horrors grippingly portrayed in this memoir amplify painfully when the family realizes that, because of their exile, they have survived the war and all but a very few of their relatives have not.
The Jane Addams Children’s Book Award: Honoring Peace and Social Justice in Children’s Books Since 1953. © Scarecrow Press, 2013. Used with permission.