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The Diary of Laura's Twin

Laura is about to celebrate her Jewish coming of age ceremony, called a Bat Mitzvah, when she is "twinned" with Sara Gittler, a young girl her own age who was imprisoned by the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto during the Holocaust. Laura is to learn about Sara's life and then share her Bat Mitzvah with her "twin" by speaking of her at the ceremony. Sara's diary unfolds with the details of her daily life in the Ghetto, a world full of fear, confusion, tragedy and above all, courage. From Sara's brave story, Laura learns how to find the courage to confront a problem in her own life. Includes photographs, biographies of young heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and true accounts of "Twinning Ceremonies."
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"Sara's story is appealing, and the explanation of the twinning program is very well done. This book would be a good fit in both public and school libraries."-- (10/01/2008) "Sara's journal is so well-written that you forget it is historical fiction as you read. Kacer has effectively contrasted the lives of two Jewish girls, Sara in the Warsaw Ghetto and Laura in present day Montreal...Whether you read this novel for your own personal enjoyment or use it as a supplementary resource when teaching grade 6 social studies, this book is well worth reading. Highly recommended."-- (05/30/2008) "This book would be a powerful piece to include in Remembrance Day or World War II discussions and a wonderful way to honour the memory of those children who suffered through, were orphaned or died during the Holocaust."--Canadian Children's Book Centre (11/01/2008) "The author beautifully melds historical events with the contemporary issues Laura is facing. Many photographs are included, which helps to bring the story to life. This story of history, faith, and hope belongs in every public and Judaic library and would be a welcomed addition to any Holocaust curriculum. Highly recommended for ages 11 and up."-- (07/01/2009) "The photos throughout the book are well chosen and remind you that while the characters are fictional, the background isn't. In these days of Holocaust denial that's important...A good introduction to the subject for children...The language is simple and even reluctant readers should be able to manage it. Recommended."-- (02/06/2009)

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.

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