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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

In one of the darkest periods in history, one boy struggles to survive... In this gripping new addition to the bestselling I SURVIVED series, a young Jewish boy escapes the ghetto and finds a group of resistance fighters in the forests of Poland. Does he have what it takes to survive the Nazis -- and fight back?…

Overall Book Review:

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

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  None

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.

Sex/Nudity:  None

Mature Subject Matter:

War, Jewish Holocaust, Death

Alcohol / Drug Use:


Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I remember as a young girl sneaking out of my bedroom to read by the hall light my parents left on, just so I could finish an exciting book. I’ve always loved books and reading is somewhat of a passion for me–something I’m passing on to my kids. I have four children and I have a hard time making them turn out the light when they say, “But I just got to the good part”.