Winner of the Mildred L. Batchelder medal for most oustanding children's book in translation.
Escaping Nazi Germany on the kindertransport changes one girl's life forever
At the start of World War II, ten-year-old Franziska Mangold is torn from her family when she boards the kindertransport in Berlin, the train that secretly took nearly 10,000 children out of Nazi territory to safety in England. Taken in by strangers who soon become more like family than her real parents, Frances (as she is now known) courageously pieces together a new life for herself because she doesn't know when or if she'll see her true family again. Against the backdrop of war-torn London, Frances struggles with questions of identity, family, and love, and these experiences shape her into a dauntless, charming young woman.
Originally published in Germany, Anne Voorhoeve's award-winning novel is filled with humor, danger, and romance.
This multilayered story, first published in Germany, spotlights the "Kindertransport" of Jewish children to London during WWII. Narrated in memoir style by a charming heroine, Ziska, the novel spans from her 11th birthday to her 19th. The narrative also serves as a thorough introduction to Judaism, as the protagonist who is not actually Jewish but labeled as such in Berlin because of her Jewish ancestors joins an Orthodox family in London. Given a new name upon her adoption, she recalls, "I had arrived. I was no longer Ziska. From now on I was Frances, and would never want to be anyone else again." Voorhoeve cogently explores themes of motherhood and adoptive families, conveying the girl's complicated relationship with her narcissistic, unstable birth mother and her growing closeness to her loving adoptive one. Frances's friendship and attraction to her adoptive brother Gary is gracefully portrayed, while the devastating cost of the war is tempered by the words of Ziska's professor friend who tells her, "Live!... And live well! That is the only thing you can do for them." Ages 12 up.