CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 21 . . . .June 24, 2005
Scholastic's reissue of this award-winning book will be a timely addition for those looking for World War II stories to complement the new Grade Six Social Studies curriculum in Manitoba.
Lisa and her family, consisting of her father, mother, brother Stefan, and cousins, live in Denmark during the time of the Nazi invasion. Some members of her family, like cousin Erik, think that everything will be all right if they just mind their own business. Others, like her brother Stefan and his best friend, Jesper, feel they have to do everything they can to stop the Nazis. They both join the resistance movement. Lisa begs to join and is soon delivering pamphlets.
On Lisa's fourteenth birthday, they all go to the dance hall that is owned by the family of her best friend, Suzanne. After their wonderful afternoon of dancing, the Germans blow up the dance hall, and Suzanne's parents are killed. Suzanne comes to live with Lisa's family, and she joins the Resistance.
When they learn that the Nazis are planning to round up all the Jewish people at Rosh Hashanah and send them to concentration camps, Lisa and her family warn as many people as they can. The Resistance arranges for them to travel to Sweden to escape.
Carol Matas has created a well-written account of what it must have been like at that time. She includes details such as Lisa's "new" dress being made from the material in a parachute her brother found. She also mentions the rationing of gas for heating as well as for cars. She manages to convey the fear and the helplessness, but also the feeling of hope. In spite of the overwhelming sadness of innocence of youth lost to harsh reality, Matas showcases Lisa as a strong character who believes that one person can make a difference.
Patricia Fay is a teacher-librarian at Beaumont Elementary School in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.