Twelve-year-old Edith Westerfeld has lived a protected life in the tiny German town of Stockstadt am Rhein. Now, as brutal acts of anti-semitism explode in Hitler's Germany, she is about to travel thousands of miles over land and sea to a place that seems as foreign as the moon: Chicago, Illinois. And because her parents can't get permission to leave Germany, she is traveling alone. (jacket desciption)
I have always enjoyed reading historical fiction and this one is right up there with the best ones. Based on true events and inspired by the experiences of the author's mother, I found this book hard to put down once I started it. We learn about the history of WWII in school but not the effects on the children of the war until it is written from their point-of-view. Leaving her family behind and coming to an unknown country is a struggle within itself. Edith truly feels alone in this great big new world and she has no one to help her understand it. Her english is very limited and must learn fast to adapt to American ways. She lives with an Uncle and Aunt, but the Aunt treats her like a burden. She is a servant instead of family and lets Edith know it. While attending American school, she faces more challenges, lonliness and ridicule from classmates. The wonderful writing of this book placed me in Edith's shoes. It made me realize how fortunate I am that neither myself nor my children ever have to endure the hardships these children had to face. It is a sad read, but one that awakens a part of history we have never been told. I think it is a "just right book" for 6th grade and up. ~
Title: Is it Night or Day?
Author: Fern Schumer Chapman
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: May 2010, Farrar Straus Girous
Hardcover, 205 pgs.
book source: local library