The Girl Who Fought Back: Vladka Meed and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

Scholastic Focus. (True Stories in Focus). Apr. 2024. 160p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781338880519.
Gr 5 Up–In this latest entry in the narrative nonfiction series, readers learn about Vladka Meed, a teenage girl who completed hundreds of daring missions for the Resistance in World War II Warsaw. Born Feige Peltel to a Jewish family, her light brown hair and gray-green eyes masked her true identity. Her appearance allowed her to take risks others could not, securing a job, money, and food for her family forcibly relocated to Warsaw’s Jewish ghetto. Her father died from illness and her mother, sister, and brother were deported to death camps. Deciding to use her appearance as a way to fight back, she joined ZOB, the Jewish Resistance, and was given the code name Vladka. She was able to blend in with the Christian Polish population, carrying out missions outside ghetto walls to secure weapons, money, and refuge for Jewish women and children. Interspersed with accounts of her increasingly dangerous exploits are short, fact-dense chapters adding context through historical details and period photographs. Greene’s direct, engaging style will keep readers turning pages and emotionally invested in Meed’s role in shaping history through the 1980s, when she and her husband established the Registry of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, a worldwide database with information on more than 200,000 individuals. Back matter is limited to a glossary and acknowledgments listing the author’s sources, including Meed’s memoir, published in English in 1993.
VERDICT Ideal for classroom study of the Holocaust and for history lovers. Recommended.

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