My Family for the War

by Anne C. Voorhoeve

Raised Protestant, ten-year-old Ziskla is a hereditary Jew living in Germany in 1938.... read more

Raised Protestant, ten-year-old Ziskla is a hereditary Jew living in Germany in 1938. With Nazi persecution intensifying, her family is able get her on a Kindertransport to Britain. Ziskla can’t believe her mother has sent her away, and feels guilty that her best friend, Bekka, did not get chosen to go as well. In London, she moves in with the Shepards, an Orthodox Jewish family. Parents Amanda and Matthew and teenage Gary are wonderful to Ziskla, now Frances, but this proves a challenge, too: She feels conflicted about religion as she learns more about Judaism, and guilty about loving Amanda, who is so warm, unlike her own mother. The tension of feeling torn between two families—one of whose fate is unknown for much of the story—is beautifully developed in Anne C. Voorhoeve’s arresting novel that spans the years of the war. The story is grounded in characters and relationships, but also in details of time, place, and feeling. Sometimes funny, often deeply moving, one memorable scene after another describes Frances’s life as a refugee on the home front in Britain as she wrestles with questions of family, religion, and identity, and the capacity of humans to be so cruel, and also love so deeply. (Age 13 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2013

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