NONFICTION

My Survival: A Girl on Schindler’s List

Scholastic. Dec. 2019. 144p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781338593792.
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Gr 5-8–Rena Finder, a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor, challenges readers to “stand up for the innocent” in her remarkable memoir. The beloved daughter of a medical supply salesman in Poland, Rena spent her early years surrounded by her close-knit extended family. In 1939, the German army invaded Poland. Conditions for Rena and her family quickly deteriorated as the Nazis placed increasing restrictions on members of the Jewish community, eventually sending them to the Krakow ghetto. Finder credits her wartime survival to Oskar Schindler, a businessman and member of the Nazi party, who was later immortalized in Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List. Despite his political affiliation, Schindler went to great lengths to protect Jewish workers at his factories. Finder openly depicts the horror of genocide: her grandparents being shot by the Nazis, the chilling murder of children at a Krakow orphanage, and the reality of the gas chambers at Auschwitz. The book is a quick read and has a significant amount of action. It will be an easy sell to reluctant readers, particularly because of the slim size. Family photographs unearthed from Finder’s childhood attic at the end of the war are included in the book.
VERDICT A good purchase for all libraries. An important reminder about the Holocaust, especially for reluctant readers or children with an interest in World War II literature.

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