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Middle Grade Review: Torn Thread by Anne Isaacs

Title: Torn Thread

Author: Anne Isaacs

Year Published: 2000

Category: YA fiction (historical)
Pages: 192
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2021 Google Reading map)Poland and Czech Republic

Summary (from Amazon): Twelve-year-old Eva and her sister have been forced to leave their home in Poland and are imprisoned in a Nazi labor camp. There they must spin thread on treacherous machinery to make clothing and blankets for the German Army. As Eva struggles amid ever worsening dangers to save her life and that of her sick sister, readers witness how two teenagers strive to create home and family amidst inhumanity and chaos. Written in exquisite prose, this story of heartbreak and hope that is rich in detail and symbolism will deeply move readers of all ages.

Review: Another confession: I chose this book from a junior high library because the author's last name begins with an "I" and I needed it for a reading challenge. Yet another Holocaust book, but it covers a different version from others I have read (how can there still be different versions of those events?!).

Eva and Rachel are young sisters who are taken from the Jewish ghetto in Poland to work in a factory in what is now the Czech Republic. While life and work at the "farm" and factory is horrible, they do manage to evade death in a concentration camp like the rest of their family.

Eva and Rachel are characters with which the reader can connect and understand, which is key for junior high readers. I think this book would be a good introductory one for students who don't yet know much about the Holocaust. The fact that this is based on a true story, and interviews with the remaining sister, makes it even more effective.

Challenges for which this counts:
  • Alphabet (author)--"I"
  • Children's historical fiction
  • Historical fiction
  • Literary Escapes--Czech Republic (Czechoslovakia at the time of the novel)

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