Author Lauren Tarshis does an amazing job of giving you the feeling of actually being in a pivotal moment of history with her “I Survived” series and I Survived the Nazi Invasion, 1944 is no exception. It is told from the perspective of 11 year old Max, a Jewish boy who lives with his younger sister in the ghetto of a town in Eastern Poland, which is now controlled by the German Nazis. The majority of this short, 90 page book focuses on the events of just a couple of nights that take them from the ghetto to hiding out with a group of resistance fighters, but these events give the reader a real glimpse into what life was like for Jewish people in Nazi-controlled Europe. Tarshis also chooses events for her book that give one the feel for what it would have been like from several different perspectives (a resistance fighter, a young Nazi soldier, and a double agent)– a definite plus in a book that is more of an introduction to certain topics and that is geared towards opening the eyes of young readers. Tarshis’s talent in giving a broad introduction of such a sensitive subject in such a short book is evident in her story telling.
This book, and the series in general, is geared toward the 7-10 age range and is written at that level. However, the treatment and brutality towards the Jews of Europe by the Nazis is a very mature and difficult subject to broach for such a young age. Tarshis does an excellent job conveying the feelings and emotions of someone going through this, as well as the telling of events, but she does it in such a way that works for this age group.
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Scholastic
Violence/Gore: Several second hand accounts of atrocities to the Jewish people; character hit in head by soldier’s gun; attempt to shoot character by soldier; soldier shot in foot by own rifle; account of train being blown up; account of characters bloodied toes; stories told of how characters earned scars; several page account of a bombing; account of characters being hunted by soldiers; 2 accounts of soldiers being shot; character shot with description of wound given.
Mature Subject Matter:
War, Jewish Holocaust, Death
Alcohol / Drug Use: