Kathy Kacer has won many awards for her writing, including the Silver Birch, the Red Maple, the Hackmatack and the Jewish Book Award. In 1999 she wrote her first book in Second Story's Holocaust Remembrance Series for Young Readers, The Secret of Gabi's Dresser. Since then she has penned four other books for the series, including The Underground Reporters, Clara's War, and The Night Spies. A former psychologist who worked with troubled teens, Kathy now writes about the Holocaust for young readers and travels the country speaking about it. She also addresses adults about how to teach sensitive material to young children. Kathy lives in Toronto with her family.
Gr 5-9-Laura is getting ready to celebrate her bat mitzvah when she learns that she has yet another required assignment: learn about a Jewish child who was unable to celebrate a Bar or Bat Mitzvah because of the Holocaust. Laura's already studied the Holocaust in school, and she tries to argue her way out of the "twinning" project. But when the rabbi asks her to meet the elderly Mrs. Mandelcorn, who hands her an old diary to read, Laura is completely engrossed by the story it tells of Sara, a 12-year old Jewish girl living in the Warsaw ghetto from 1941 to 1943. Laura identifies with Sara and her family, as Sara describes the horrors of daily life in the ghetto and the courage of those in the Resistance movement. Sara's story becomes even more meaningful to Laura when the desecration of a nearby Jewish cemetery proves to her that anti-Semitism and intolerance are serious problems today-and her best friend might be involved. Back matter includes additional information on the Warsaw ghetto and twinning ceremonies. Kathy Kacer's moving, award-winning novel (Second Story Press, 2008) skillfully melds contemporary and historical characters to make the past relevant to students. Alyson Silverman does an adequate job of voicing Laura and her friends, but her accents for Sara and Mrs. Mandelcorn are less convincing, making the audiobook a supplementary purchase.-Margo Tanenbaum, Rancho Cucamonga Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.