VOYA: 'superb addition to Holocaust or American History collection'

  • September 1, 2010
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Here is the review of Is it Night or Day? by the Voices of Youth Advocates (VOYA), the library magazine servicing those who serve young adults:

In 1938 Edith Westerfeld is twelve years old when her family puts her on a ship in Bremen,Germany that carries her to the Deutchland, an oceanliner that transports her to New York City. From there, all alone, she is put on a train to Chicago, Illinois where she lives with her father’s brother, his wife, and their teenage daughter. Edith is treated more like a servant than part of their family, but she strives to learn English, do all of the work demanded by her aunt, do well in school, and save money to send her parents in the hope that they will be able to join her. From having to start with first grade at school, to the anti-Semitic attitudes that abound even in America, Edith struggles in this new country but finds solace in walks to the shores of Lake Michigan, in baseball’s Hank Greenberg, and in the public library where she escapes into books. Shattered by a letter informing her of the deaths of her parents, she realizes she must carry on with life despite her losses. Author Chapman tells readers in an introductory note that this historical fiction work is based on an American rescue operation named “the One Thousand Children,” which her own mother was a part of, in order to give voice to another group of Holocaust victims. Edith’s story is compelling and interesting, shedding light on a young immigrant’s fears, confusion, and loss. This is a superb addition to any Holocaust or American History collection. Students will be moved by Edith’s story.

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