Inga Auerbacher's childhood was as happy and peaceful as any other German child's--until 1942. By then, the Nazis were in power, and she and her parents were rounded up and sent to a concentration camp. The Auerbachers defied death for three years until they were freed. This story allows even the youngest middle reader to understand the Holocaust.
This account of one girl's Holocaust experience is rich for its interweaving of autobiography and historical data. At age six, Auerbacher was forced to wear the yellow star that set her apart. Then she was sent to the Terezin concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. Fifteen thousand children entered that camp, but only a hundred exited alive. And of more than 1000 people who arrived with Auerbacher, only 15 survived. It's a moving story supported by well-preserved wartime photographs and Bernbaum's harsh, spare drawings. The author's ability to survive is linked to her later capacity to translate hardship and tragedy into poetry of hope and perseverance. Her perspective, while chilling, pierces the heart with memorable imagery, such as envying the birds, which are free to fly away from the camp. Ages 11-up. (April)