The engrossing coming-of-age autobiography of a young American caught in Nazi Germany during World War II.
“A must-have memoir about an aspect of wartime survival not often written about in children’s literature.” ―Booklist
During the Great Depression, when Eleanor is nine, her family moves from her beloved America to Germany, from which her parents had emigrated years before and where her father has been offered a job he cannot pass up. But when war suddenly breaks out as her family is crossing the Atlantic, they realize returning to the United States isn’t an option. They arrive in Berlin as enemy aliens.
Eleanor tries to maintain her American identity as she feels herself pulled into the turbulent life roiling around her. She and her brother are enrolled in German schools and in Hitler’s Youth (a requirement). She fervently hopes for an Allied victory, yet for years she must try to survive the Allied bombs shattering her neighborhood. Her family faces separations, bombings, hunger, the final fierce battle for Berlin, the Russian invasion, and the terrors of Soviet occupancy.
This compelling story is heart-racing at times and immerses readers in a first-hand account of Nazi Germany, surviving World War II as a civilian, and immigration.
Discussion Guide available.
“This powerful coming-of-age tale is told with intensity and also with the freshness of teenage years remembered: there are repeated brutal bombings and countless brushes with death; there are also friends, holiday celebrations, and two babies born to the family during the war, who engage Eleanor’s love and protection. There’s also a much anticipated return to the U. S. It all coalesces into a must-have memoir about an aspect of wartime survival not often written about in children’s literature.” ―Booklist
“A striking, intriguing, and moving read…All in all, it’s an eye-opening read that offers a different look at things for someone who has some background knowledge/experience of WWII, but also is a really neat introduction for students.” ―A Word’s Worth
Best Books for Young Adults ―YALSA, 2000
Children’s Book Award (Older Reader Category) ―International Reading Association/Children’s Book
Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People ―National Council for the Social Studies/Children’s Book Council, 2000
Teachers’ Choices (Advanced) ― International Reading Association, 2000
Young Adults’ Choices ― International Reading Association, 2001
Children’s Books Mean Business ―American Booksellers Association and Children’s Book Council, 2001
Not Just for Children Anymore! ―Children’s Book Council, 2001
VOYA Nonfiction Honor List ―Voice of Youth Advocates, 1999
Books for the Teen Age ―New York Public Library, 2000-2001
California Collections (High School) ―California Readers, 2001-2007
San Diego Book Awards (Children’s Nonfiction) ―San Diego Book Awards Association, 1999
Garden State Teen Book Awards (Nominee, Nonfiction for Grades 6-12) ―New Jersey Library Association, 2001
Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Awards (Nominee, Grades 6-8) ―Pennsylvania School Librarians Association, 2003-2004
Resources: Discussion Guide
AR Level: 6.4
F&P: Y, Gr 6, Genre B
Themes: Europe During WWII, Coming of Age, Memoir
BISAC 1: YAN006000 YOUNG ADULT NONFICTION / Biography & Autobiography / General
BISAC 2: YAN025130 YOUNG ADULT NONFICTION / History / Military & Wars
BISAC 3: YAN025070 YOUNG ADULT NONFICTION / History / Europe