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:
What ISeven of usJammed in a cellBig enough for one.A girl with blonde braidsAnd a gold crossGot down on her knees,Crossed herself,And swore to GodShe was not a Jew.No one listened.Not even God.
Review copy from the publisher.