Irena's Children: Young Readers Edition; A True Story of Courage Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-07-28 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 7 user ratings

" It took me a while to finish this book just because it’s such a powerful and inspiring yet heartbreaking story. I had so many thoughts while reading this book that i had to take lots of breaks and breathe, sometimes even cry. It really opened my eyes to this large part of history that’s not even U.S. history. I really would recommend reading this book, Irena Sendler is an extraordinarily inspiring woman. " said.

" Irena said that what she did was normal, nothing special, what anyone would do. Thing is, it wasn’t normal. Only 5,000 of a million Jewish children survived WWII in Poland. She and her network were strange, weird and absurd. Thank God they were. This wasn’t a smooth read, but it is powerful. I am glad for the time I spent reading it and I hope I will be weird and absurd, like Irena, if necessary. " said.

" I loved this book; although the story is not new, and the retelling of unbelievable atrocities against innocent children, men and women is often difficult to read, Mary Cronk Farrell tells this story is a way that really makes you understand the horrors as well as the bravery that was present every day in the Warsaw Ghetto. Though you may be weary of reading WW II historical fiction, the next time you are in the mood, pick this one up, you won't regret it. " said.

" The atrocities of WWII have been presented in numerous fiction and non-fiction books. This book presents alongside those atrocities a set of heroes who worked to save thousands of Warsaw children from Nazi extermination. This is a well-adapted book that would make the subject matter very approachable for younger readers. While this book is not overly graphic in nature, it does not shield readers from the terrible acts that were carried out during this time. " said.

"I would recommend this book to middle school children. Whereas Anne Frank’s story is a first person narrative, this is told in the third person. The story focuses on a young Catholic woman who aided the escape of thousands of Jewish children in Warsaw who certainly would have faced death if they didn’t leave. There are a number of people that assisted in this process and with all the alias names it can be confusing to keep track of who’s who but the brave young woman stood up when so many others shrank back into the shadows." said.

" There have been at least two great novels set in the Warsaw ghetto and this book about Irena Sendler is just as compelling. While well-researched, this is due in part to the author’s extrapolations and interpolations - acknowledged in the afterword - that transform the sources into a coherent narrative that focuses not only on the Jewish experience but also that of the Poles caught up in the occupation of Warsaw. The resulting “true story” actually falls somewhere between history and fiction. " said.

"This is the story of Irena Sendler and how this brave young woman and her friends saved the lives of 2500 Jewish children from the Warsaw ghetto during World War II. Until recently, Irena's story was not widely known because it was suppressed by the Communist government which took over Poland after the war. But now she is being called a Polish Schindler. I knew I wanted to read this story, but I also knew it would be hard for me because it is emotionally difficult for me to read about Nazi atrocities. So I chose to read the YA version of the book. In my opinion, it still has plenty of detail and photos and is well written, but it is somewhat shorter than the adult version. It still made me cry, but it was well worth reading. It is a riveting story, both heart-wrenching and inspiring. Irena Sendler was a true heroine, an ordinary person who found courage to do extraordinary things for all the right reasons in a desperate time. I think everyone should read her story!

I especially recommend this book (or the adult version) to my friend Louise N. who loves books about World War II.

Only one detail confused me. The book kept describing Irena as petite, blond, and blue eyed. But the photos in the book, while black and white, clearly showed her with dark hair and dark eyes. Only in one photo of Irena as a child was her coloring a bit lighter. But while her eyes could have been blue in that photo, her hair still appeared brown, never blonde.
" said.

"Irena Sendler was 29 years old when the Germans took over Warsaw, Poland, where she worked as a social worker. Although she could have chosen to do nothing, she used her position to help Jewish families move to other areas, and as part of a close-knit network of courageous men and women, she helped to smuggle out more than 2,500 children from the Warsaw ghetto. This edition for young readers will have them riveted at how clever she and her companions were, hiding the children in toolboxes, coffins, clothing, and moving them through sewers and passages under buildings to safe houses. Not only did she and her compatriots risk their lives by their actions, but they risked the lives of their families. But what else could they do, given that the truth about the German war camps began to be known? The author effectively captures the danger and suspense of those times during the Holocaust while also acknowledging the difficulty many families faced in giving up their children for a possibility of survival and a new life somewhere. But there was, after all, no guarantee that the children would survive and be safe or that someone in the organization would not betray them. Living like this must have been excruciatingly frightening. Even though Irena was eventually arrested and tortured, she never spilled her secrets, later earning the distinction of Righteous Among the Nations for her actions. Young readers will be fascinated by her acts of courage and heroism and ponder what prompted her to act when others sat idly by and did nothing. Perhaps the book will inspire them to ask themselves what they would have done if they had been in Irena's shoes. Hers is a story that should never be forgotten. There are even details about some of the families who lived in the city's zoos, long since emptied of animals, since they had nowhere else to go. While I thoroughly enjoyed the story and learning more about this woman, sometimes the story leaps from event to event or individual to individual in a way that can be confusing, necessitating that it be read with some patience. Having photographs that depict Warsaw and Irena herself puts a human face to this time and helps readers see the toll the Germans took on the city. For anyone who asks, "What can I do as one person against great evil?" here is a sound rejoinder. You can speak, you can act, and you can work to make changes in the world. Ultimately, you can choose to defy the Hitlers of the past and present. " said.

August 2018 New Book:

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