CHRISTA LAIRD Shadow of the Wall

ISBN 13: 9780099400578

Shadow of the Wall

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9780099400578: Shadow of the Wall

Living with his family in the Warsaw Ghetto, Misha is befriended by Dr. Korczak, and finds a purpose to his life when he joins a resistance group.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 7 Up-- The inhumanity forced upon the Jews in Warsaw during World War II is wrenchingly told through the fictional family of 13-year-old Misha Edelman, who, following his father's death, feels responsible for his ailing mother and two younger sisters, Rachel and Elena. Living in the Orphans' Home operated by the heroic "Mister Doctor" Korczak, Misha risks his life by smuggling to support those he loves. Death becomes a daily occurrence as the Nazis deport thousands to the concentration camp at Treblinka. After his mother's death and having smuggled Elena to the Aryan side of the wall, he increasingly seeks action, some way to contribute to the growing resistance movement. In a scene that is appropriately stomach-churning, Misha conquers his fears to escape through the sewers to the Aryan side where he enters training with the resistance. Strong emotions are evoked, particularly when Dr. Korczak and the orphans, including Rachel, are deported past the shop window in which Misha works with the underground. While lacking the machine-gun impact of violent death and horror that characterizes Aaron's Gideon (Lippincott, 1982), this book has a pathos about it that will make it memorable to those readers sensitive enough to pursue its descriptions of deprivation, hunger, and hope. A postscript details the facts upon which the book was based, including information about the characters in the story who are based on real people. --Joel Shoemaker, Tilford Middle School, Vinton, IA
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

Ever since the death of their father, Misha and his sister Rachel have lived in the orphanage run by Dr. Janusz Korczak. Conditions in the Warsaw ghetto have grown steadily worse, forcing Misha to become a smuggler and black marketeer. Recruited by an underground resistance group, Misha leaves the ghetto in time to escape the deadly journey to Treblinka. Though Misha and his family are fictional characters, Korczak did actually live and work in the ghetto, and his deeds certainly merit recounting. This, however, is a frustrating book, for the author's storytelling ability does not equal her grasp of the sordid details of ghetto life. The narrative also suffers from numerous, apparently arbitrary shifts in point of view. Misha's story seems tacked on in order to make the heartbreaking subject matter more accessible to young readers. Ironically, the novel's most powerful moments occur when the sad, ugly truth seeps out through the weak story line--on these occasions, the claustrophobia of doomed lives in the ghetto becomes almost tangible. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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