November 7, 2016

Lost childhood

No Pretty Pictures: A Child of War
by Anita Lobel

Anita Lobel was five years old when World War II began; her brother was three. After Nazis invaded their home in Krakรณw, Poland, their mother sent them, along with their nanny, to the country in hopes of keeping them safe. But eventually, the children were caught and spent most of their childhoods shuttling between a succession of concentration camps. 

Lobel's memoir, written from a child’s point of view, expertly captures the fear and uncertainty that a child experiences when faced with unimaginable circumstances. She also reveals the difficulty of adjusting to life after war. 

Twelve-years-old when the war ended, Anita and her brother, both with tuberculosis, were sent to Sweden to recover. In Sweden, she learned the language and attended school, all while dealing with the pervasive fear of the German language and a deep ambivalence at being Jewish. Reunited with her parents, she also felt impatience at their inability to understand Swedish and the pressure she felt in having to guide them through her new situation.

Hers was a childhood that never was – a tragic consequence for all children growing up with war.

Haunting and unforgettable.

For ages 10 and up.

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