Publisher's Note:  

Lida thought she was safe. Her neighbors wearing the yellow star were all taken away, but Lida is not Jewish. She will be fine, won't she?

But she cannot escape the horrors of World War II.

Lida's parents are ripped away from her and she is separated from her beloved sister, Larissa. The Nazis take Lida to a brutal work camp, where she and other Ukrainian children are forced into backbreaking labor. Starving and terrified, Lida bonds with her fellow prisoners, but none of them know if they'll live to see tomorrow.

When Lida and her friends are assigned to make bombs for the German army, Lida cannot stand the thought of helping the enemy. Then she has an idea. What if she sabotaged the bombs... and the Nazis? Can she do so without getting caught?

And if she's freed, will she ever find her sister again?

This pulse-pounding novel of survival, courage, and hope shows us a lesser-known piece of history -- and is sure to keep readers captivated until the last page.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Scholastic Press (A Scholastic Imprint)

Making Bombs for Hitler

by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

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Overall Review:  

Making Bombs for Hitler by author Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch is a heart-wrenching account of how ethnic Ukrainians were treated by the Nazis. From the point of view of 11-year-old Lida, who is taken by force to a work camp where Ukrainians are treated the worst of all. (This is a camp that no Jews were taken to.) Lida first proves her worth, thus saving her life, by working in the laundry doing detailed work on officers' uniforms. However, she proves a little too useful and then gets reassigned to a bomb-making facility where her deft hands are deemed needed. Lida, along with the few other girls she works with, decides to do their part to end the war and begins to sabotage the bombs they are making.

The story itself gives what seems to be a fairly accurate account of the horrors of such work camps without going into too much detail. Skrypuch is a wonderful storyteller that is able to convey the emotions and feelings of the characters without having to tell you how they feel. That being said, there are several scenes that would be hard to process for the tenderhearted and sensitive reader.  Lida, however, is a character that demonstrates courage, kindness and perseverance in the most appalling of conditions and heart-wrenching situations. This novel is a great example of how one can rise out of the ashes of a horrific and heinous experience. Lida reaches out to others, instead of just keeping to herself. She uses her head in order to insure her survival, but she is still willing to help others. Her courageous example gives others hope as well. While the subject matter and events are rather depressing at times, the novel leaves the reader with hope in the greater good by the end. Apparently, Making Bombs For Hitler is a companion novel to Stolen Child which gives the account of how Lida's little sister survived the war. 

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  None

Violence/Gore:  Reviewers note: One of the subcategories I tally is titled 'Frightening Scenes' and really this entire novel is one very long frightening scene. Even when something good or positive is happening, the characters are still looking out for the consequences of living in such conditions.  Details: Girl constrained by force to keep her from helping her younger sister; girl slapped by guard; children are confined in a cattle car for days without basic necessities; soldier points a gun at a boy; children warned to be useful or be killed; person killed by Nazi soldier because they were not useful; character hit with club to make them hurry; character whipped across the cheek; girl carried off and 'taken care of' because she was too ill to be useful; characters reported to have been kidnapped right off the street or from schools by the Nazi soldiers; boy hit in the head with a club for talking; characters told they will be shot if they go anywhere without their id badge on; account of character's mother being shot for helping a Jewish family told; girl gives account how children too young to work are used as blood donors, eventually leading to their deaths; secondhand account of prisoners being shot for revolting; bomb hits work camp causing death and injury; character remembers witnessing Jews being taken and shot; account of people being starved to death; account of Nazi soldiers ransacking and plundering synagogues and churches; character witnesses half-starved Jewish men being shoved onto a truck; account of Nazi officer shooting someone on the spot because he was annoyed; character sees a truck piled with dead slaves; account of Nazi soldiers ordering food to be poisoned thus killing an entire group of people; man shot for trying to take food from a burning building; character hears gunshots of Nazi soldier just randomly shooting people; boy points gun at character; boy gives account of having to hide with a truckload of corpses to escape; account of boy being beaten by Russian soldiers; account of Russian soldiers lining up people and randomly shooting them.

Sex/Nudity:  Characters told to undress in public; girl kisses forehead of boy; boy and girl hug; boy and girl hold hands (3 accounts).

Mature Subject Matter:  

Death, war, Nazi work camps, Nazi atrocities, WWII.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Several accounts of soldiers smoking; guards said to be drunk.

Reviewed By Sally
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