Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Children's Book Review: I Will Come Back For You; A Family In Hiding During World War II

I Will Come Back For You: A Family in Hiding During World War II

Author: Marisabina Russo

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade

Date: September 27, 2011

About The Author
Marisabina Russo is the author and illustrator of numerous books for children. Always Remember Me: How One Family Survived World War II, based on the experiences of her grandmother's family during the Holocaust, was named an ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Book.

A Jewish Family In Italy
A grandmother uses her charm bracelet to tell the story of her life in Italy during World War II.

The first charm is a donkey. The donkey represents the happy times that Jacob, Sabina and their children had in Rome before the war. They would often go to the park and ride on the backs of gentle donkeys.

The second charm is a piano. Jacob would play the piano and sing to his family each night when he got home from work. One day, Jacob learned that he and all Jewish men had to move to a small village up in the mountains. The music ended and the family missed Jacob very much.

The third charm is a bicycle. Jacob learned that the Germans were coming to the village and all the Jewish detainees would be moved to a concentration camp. Jacob ran away and hid in the mountains. A friendly farmer carried Sabina on the handlebars of his bicycle to a safer hiding place higher in the mountains. The children were left behind but hoped to be reunited with their parents as soon as it was safe.

The fourth charm is a pig. The children hid in baskets of live piglets and were carried high into the mountains on the back of a donkey. They were reunited with Sabina and lived with her on a farm until the war ended.

The next two charms are a barn and a spinning wheel. These charms represent the time that Sabina and the children lived on the farm. Sabina worked in the fields and even learned to spin yarn from sheep's wool. They looked like part of the farmer's family so no one suspected that they were Jews.

The Last charm is an ocean liner. Sabina learned that Jacob had joined the partigiani, a group of people who were fighting against the Germans. He was killed by Nazi solders who found his hideout. After the war, Sabina and her children sailed to America where they started a new life.

My Thoughts
When I was a child, I loved to read biographies and books about history. I read very little fiction, I always wanted a "true" book. I majored in social studies/history when I went to college. I love to learn about the history of my country and the world.

The subject of the Holocaust is difficult to explain to children. This fictionalized story based on the author's real-life experience deals with the subject in a sensitive and appropriate manner.

I really love the way the charm bracelet was used to represent each part of the story. The author gives more information about her family in the "Afterword" section of the book. Incredibly, about 85% of the Jews in Italy survived the war, more than in almost any other European country.

This is an excellent resource to teach children about war, evil, bravery and kindness in the face of danger. Highly recommended for children in early elementary grades and up. (The book jacket says ages 5 - 9 but I think it could  be used with older students.)

My Rating: 5 Stars Out Of 5

FYI ~ I checked-out this book from the public library.

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