Just a Girl: A True Story of World War II

Harper. Mar. 2022. 144p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780063065086.
Gr 3-7–Lia Levi tells the story of her childhood as a young Jewish girl living in Italy and Rome during World War II. Lia’s life begins to change when her mother tells her she can no longer attend her Italian school. Because of Mussolini’s new laws, Lia must now attend a Jewish school. While this change doesn’t affect Lia much, it is the first of many changes that worry her and cause her family to be separated. Lia’s father loses his job, and their family must move multiple times for him to find work that will support their family. When the war gets too close to home, Lia’s parents send her and her sisters to live at a convent in hopes of disguising them as Christian children. This unique story is both heartbreaking and sweet. Lia goes through many difficult situations, but, as a young girl would, she finds ways to be positive and have fun through this terrible time. The illustrations included add context for readers, along with interjections from Lia’s adult self that usually refers to the readers as “dear readers.” Levi’s story is perfect for young children who want to learn more about the Holocaust, but aren’t ready for the more horrific details.
VERDICT An excellent addition to elementary memoir and World War II collections.

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