Chapman, Fern Schumer
IS IT NIGHT OR DAY?
Most Holocaust stories for children focus on the inhumanity that took place in European countries; fewer deal with the severe hardships experienced by children sent to America and their struggles to assimilate into a foreign culture. Based on the experiences of the author’s mother as part of the One Thousand Children project, this empathetic historical novel rings with authenticity. Edith Westerfeld is 12 when her parents send her from their German home to America. Almost half of the story takes place aboard the ship as she and the other lonely refugee children turn to each other to ease their fears. Life in Chicago is filled with discrimination; even her aunt treats her like a servant. The one bright spot is following Hank Greenberg’s baseball career, but wearing her mother’s Star of David doesn’t keep him from being drafted or bring her parents to America (they die in concentration camps). The title’s significance is revealed on the last page: As Edith mourns the loss of everything, she realizes that to honor her parents she must be willing to live. Moving. (Historical fiction. 10-13)