My Real Name Is Hanna

224p. Mandel Vilar Pr. Sept. 2018. pap. $16.95. ISBN 9781942134510.
Gr 6 Up—This debut historical novel is a brilliantly rendered memorial to survivors of the Holocaust. Masih tells the story of Hanna Slivka, a teenage girl living in a small integrated community in Ukraine in 1941. The story begins before the Germans have invaded her small town, but not before the hatred of Hanna's heritage is first felt. From the very beginning, Hanna and her siblings are called ugly names by other children in the village, and as the German Army continues its campaign of hatred against the Jews, Hanna must see and hear things that no child ever should. Her family is forced to endure many injustices and humiliations once the Germans arrive and then it is too late for them to evacuate. Eventually, townspeople start to turn on one another for food and profit, and Hanna's family is forced to flee their home to the forest and caves in an attempt to survive. Although the topic of the Holocaust is now part of world history curriculum, students will find Masih's novel compelling. The story of the human spirit is richly embedded in the lives of a family trying desperately to not just stay alive but to stay together and to retain their faith.
VERDICT A strong choice for young adult shelves.

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