Friday, March 24, 2023

Alias Anna by Susan Hood

Gene:  Middle Grade, Biography
Source: I own a copy

I knew I couldn’t get through Spring Break without reading at least one Holocaust book. I had five selected. This is the one I got to. We learn that this book came about when Zhanna’s granddaughter had to write about her grandparent’s history and any major thing that had happened in their life. The story is co-written by her son Greg Dawson, whose daughter sent the letter.

Zhanna Arshanskaya was a child when she, her sister, mother and father and grandparents were sent on a death march. Her father was a candymaker and played violin. He helped his daughters Zhanna and Frina develop a love of music, playing the family’s piano. They were sent to a music conservatory until Jews were no longer welcome.  Their father offers a bribe to one of the guards while on the march to look away so his daughter Zhanna can step out of the line. A while later she was joined by her sister. They changed their names to better blend in. Zhanna became Anna and Frina became Marina.  The help from a Christian family, an orphanage and believe it or not the Nazis themselves helped them to survive. This is a story that must be read and recommended to students everywhere. I strongly recommend it.

Make sure you check out all of the resources at the end of the story. There are websites, books, etc to help you learn more.

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