We Had to Be Brave: Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport

by Deborah Hopkinson (Author)

We Had to Be Brave: Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport
Reading Level: 6th — 7th Grade

Sibert Honor author Deborah Hopkinson illuminates the true stories of Jewish children who fled Nazi Germany, risking everything to escape to safety on the Kindertransport.

Ruth David was growing up in a small village in Germany when Adolf Hitler rose to power in the 1930s. Under the Nazi Party, Jewish families like Ruth's experienced rising anti-Semitic restrictions and attacks. Just going to school became dangerous. By November 1938, anti-Semitism erupted into Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, and unleashed a wave of violence and forced arrests. 

Days later, desperate volunteers sprang into action to organize the Kindertransport, a rescue effort to bring Jewish children to England. Young people like Ruth David had to say good-bye to their families, unsure if they'd ever be reunited. Miles from home, the Kindertransport refugees entered unrecognizable lives, where food, clothes -- and, for many of them, language and religion -- were startlingly new.

Meanwhile, the onset of war and the Holocaust visited unimaginable horrors on loved ones left behind. Somehow, these rescued children had to learn to look forward, to hope. Through the moving and often heart-wrenching personal accounts of Kindertransport survivors, critically acclaimed and award-winning author Deborah Hopkinson paints the timely and devastating story of how the rise of Hitler and the Nazis tore apart the lives of so many families and what they were forced to give up in order to save these children.

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School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up--This captivating narrative of assembled memoirs uses historical details of the Nazis' rise to power and its consequences for European Jews to convey the danger, the emotional cost, and the significance of the Kindertransport (Children's Transport). Hopkinson chronicles the rescue missions that saved young Jewish children from the Holocaust just before the start of World War II and describes the Nazis' systematic and relentless persecution of European Jews that made those rescues necessary. Background information regarding Hitler's rise to power is included, with special attention given to the Kristallnacht violence throughout Germany and the ways that the lives of Jewish families changed in the wake of these riots. Hopkinson's faithful commitment to preserving and broadcasting the voices of as many Kindertransport survivors as possible makes for a rich, dense, and sometimes confusingly detailed narrative. An index, time lines, and source notes will help to orient the reader in the individual stories and provide connections to the broader scope of history. VERDICT This moving account of an important and lesser-known aspect of 20th-century history is recommended for high school and junior high school nonfiction collections.--Kelly Kingrey-Edwards, Blinn Junior College, Brenham, TX

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Praise for D-Day: The WWII Invasion that Changed History

* "Hopkinson has compiled a comprehensive and absorbing overview... this insightful title, chock-full of primary sources, is a strong purchase." — School Library Journal, starred review

"Hopkinson is particularly adept at directing attention to the stories behind the heroic stories." — Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"How does an author sequentially chronicle multiple, rapidly developing, and simultaneous events and maintain not just coherence, but suspense? Hopkinson employs her signature kaleidoscopic style effectively here: synthesizing complex events into a compelling narrative arc, and sampling myriad voices to add texture and color to the story, while never losing sight of the bigger picture." — The Horn Book

"Such major figures as Dwight D. Eisenhower and Omar Bradley get plenty of attention, but more is given to the experiences of the soldiers who waded ashore under fire or parachuted behind enemy lines. Hopkinson weaves their personal accounts with those of observations by Ernie Pyle and others to bring the invasion vividly to life... An attractively packaged, engrossing history that will appeal to readers fascinated with military strategy." — Kirkus Reviews

"With thoroughness and clarity, this title brings D-Day into focus by breaking it down into components and focusing on human voices and perspectives... provides a wealth of information clearly presented alongside many black and white photos, resulting in an engaging read even for those who may not be interested in a book about military history. The complexity of the historical task undertaken, the challenges of the terrain, and the courage required of those involved is conveyed by the author without hyperbole and by allowing the participants to tell their own stories. Highly Recommended." — School Library Connection

Praise for Dive! World War II Stories of Sailors & Submarines in the Pacific

* "Hopkinson crafts a gripping narrative... Fascinating World War II history for history buffs and browsers alike." — Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* "Readers wait anxiously alongside crew members amid silence and dangerous heat and oxygen levels as the submariners narrowly escape enemy detection or brace for depth charge explosions that rattle bones, fray nerves, and signal possible death... With a fascinating blend of submarine mechanics and tales of courage, readers will dive in deep." — Booklist, starred review

* "It's an appealing, engrossing package for readers fascinated by heroism and military strategy." — The Horn Book, starred review

"The real appeal, of course, is danger and heroism, and in drawing liberally from first-person accounts by surviving veterans, Hopkinson often emulates the tone of Greatest Generation memoir... And kudos to Hopkinson, whose eagle eye even located the contingent of women nurses evacuated by sub from the Philippines." — Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"A riveting narrative nonfiction selection for middle school collections." — School Library Journal

"The diverse individual stories... make the history come alive." — School Library Connection

Praise for Courage & Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and Survivors in World War II Denmark

A Sydney Taylor Notable Book
An NCTE Orbis Pictus Recommended Book
A Bank Street Center for Children's Literature Best Children's Book of the Year selection
A Cybils Award Finalist

"[A] spirited, inspiring, and extremely well-researched book... ideal for both classroom use and independent reading." — Booklist

"With numerous pictures and illustrations accompanying the text, this is a fascinating look at a little-known corner of WWII." — Publishers Weekly

Praise for Titanic: Voices from the Disaster

A Sibert Honor Book
A YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist
An ALA Notable Children's Book
An IRA Teacher's Choice
A Kirkus Reviews Best Young Adult Book of the Year
A Horn Book Fanfare Book
A Cybils Award Finalist

"An affecting portrait of human ambition, folly and almost unbearable nobility in the face of death." — The Wall Street Journal

"A meticulous recounting of the disaster... Hopkinson's reporting is so rich with information that it will be equally fascinating to young readers and adults alike." — Los Angeles Times

* "Hopkinson knows precisely what's she doing in her coverage of the Titanic disaster... [A] fine book." — The Horn Book, starred review

* "Fascinating... A thorough and absorbing re-creation of the ill-fated voyage." — Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* "Riveting." — Publishers Weekly, starred review

* "An absorbing and richly satisfying read." — School Library Journal, starred review

Praise for Up Before Daybreak

* "Rarely have the links between northern industry, southern agriculture, slavery, war, child labor, and poverty been so skillfully distilled for this audience." — Booklist, starred review

* "Superb nonfiction writing." — Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* "Excellent." — School Library Journal, starred review

Praise for Shutting Out the Sky

A Jane Addams Peace Award Honor Book
An Orbis Pictus Honor Book
An ALA Notable Book
A Sydney Taylor Notable Book

* "Nonfiction at its best." — Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* "[A] fascinating read." — School Library Journal, starred review
Deborah Hopkinson
DEBORAH HOPKINSON is the author of more than 50 books for young readers including Sky Boys: How They Built the Empire State Building, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book; and Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek: A Tall, Thin Tale, an ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Book, as well as the Little Golden Book biographies about Betty White and Dolly Parton. She lives near Portland, OR with her family and a menagerie of pets. Visit her at deborahhopkinson.com.

DAVE SZALAY is an illustrator, author, teacher, and graphic designer. He lives with his wife and three cats in Richfield, Ohio, near the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Classification
Non-fiction
ISBN-13
9781338255720
Lexile Measure
990L
Guided Reading Level
N/A
Publisher
Scholastic Focus
Publication date
February 20, 2020
Series
-
BISAC categories
JNF053240 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Social Topics | Emigration & Immigration
JNF025130 - Juvenile Nonfiction | History | Military & Wars
JNF025090 - Juvenile Nonfiction | History | Holocaust
Library of Congress categories
History
Great Britain
20th century
World War, 1939-1945
Jews
Germany
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
Rescue
Jewish children
Jewish refugees
Refugee children
Kindertransports (Rescue operations)

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