Stolen Girl

208p. Scholastic. Feb. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781338233049.
Gr 4–8—In 1950, 12-year-old Nadia emigrates from Europe to Canada and lives with people she's been instructed to call Mama and Papa. Nadia knows these are not her parents; she doesn't know why she's with them, but they've promised to keep her safe. Periodically, she has fragments of memories: living in a large house, speaking German (though she knows Ukrainian is her first language), being unhappy and afraid despite being well fed and cared for. She's blonde and blue-eyed and is teased by classmates who call her "Hitler girl." With only foggy memories of her life before Canada, she's afraid she was a Nazi—she even remembers meeting Hitler. With patient support from her adoptive parents, her memories grow clearer and she comes to understand her history. Excellent back matter about the Lebensborn program, a Nazi plan to increase the Aryan population, gives context to Nadia's story. The narrative is clear and straightforward, staying focused on the pain and confusion of Nadia's journey. The secondary characters are fleshed out just enough to make the story work, each serving to frame Nadia's experience.
VERDICT This is a strong addition to World War II historical fiction collections, shining a light on a little-known aspect of the Nazi regime's insidious programs.

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