"Sally" is going on sabbatical to write a book.

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Paper Hearts

Paper Hearts
by Meg Wiviott
352 pages; ages 12 & up
Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2015

I'm reading as fast as I can to get to the bottom of my book basket. That's where I re-discovered this gem that was published in the fall.

Paper Hearts is a story about Zlatka and her best friend, Fania. It's about how Zlatka stole and bartered for paper and scissors so she could make a birthday card for her friend. It is a story about an act of defiance, a statement of hope, and a crime punishable by death - because in Auschwitz, in 1944, making a birthday card for your friend was illegal.

The tale is told in verse, a style of storytelling I am coming to appreciate, as the language gets to the point and leaves room for imagination to fill in the spaces. Here is part of a scene set in a prison:

Seven of us
Jammed in a cell
Big enough for one.
A girl with blonde braids
And a gold cross
Got down on her knees,
Crossed herself,
And swore to God
She was not a Jew.
No one listened.
Not even God.
 What I like love about this book: the abundance of awesome back matter! There is a picture of Fania's paper heart (which is on display at the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre). There is a glossary, so you can look up Hebrew words, German words, and camp slang. There is a bibliography, should you want to explore more. And there's a wonderful section about the true story that Paper Hearts is based on, and what changes the author made for artistic reasons.

Review copy from the publisher.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for telling me about this. It sounds wonderful. I will be looking for it.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for dropping by Rosi. This is a powerful book to read.

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