My Family for the War

3 Jun

11367737My Family for the War written by Anne C. Voorhoeve and translated by Tammi Reichel won the Mildred L. Batchelder medal for most outstanding children’s book in translation (from German) this past year.  This book intrigued me on three different levels, the first being a winner for a book in translation.  I honestly wish I could read/understand German to read it in its original language to see how it was similar and different from its original text.  The second reason I wanted to read this book is my somewhat weird (for lack of a better word) obsession about reading middle grade/young adult novels about World War II and specifically the Holocaust.  The only reason that I can come up with as to why I read so many is because I can’t really understand or wrap my head around the atrocity that occurred during this time, so I feel as if I read about it more, I can try to better understand it.  And finally, it intrigued me to read about the Holocaust from a German writer.  I wonder how German children learn about that time of their history, just as I wonder how English children learn about the Revolutionary time period, and how American children learn about slavery.  History can be taught and explained very differently depending on what perspective you learn it from.

My Family for the War is about ten-year-old Franziska Mangold, whose mother and father make the difficult decision to send her on the kindertransport to England to keep her safe during World War II.  Fanziska is German and Protestant, but has Jewish in her family lineage and so she is secreted off to London where she is “adopted” during the war by an Orthodox Jewish family and where she learns about religion, family, love, and also about herself.  She soon feels a sense of belonging to the kind family who has taken her in and wonders when and even if she will ever see her parents again.  This is a beautifully, moving coming-of-age story filled with reality, but also with hope.

Title: My Family for the War
Author: Anne C. Voorhoeve
Translator: Tammi Reichel
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: 2012
Page Number: 402 pgs.

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