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My Real Name is Hanna
Cover of My Real Name is Hanna
My Real Name is Hanna
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1941, Hitler's army crosses into Soviet-ruled Ukraine in a secret mission titled "Operation Barbarossa. A young Jewish girl, Hanna Slivka is fourteen when German soldiers arrive in her small village of Kwasova. Until their arrival, Hanna has split her time between playing with her younger siblings, sharing drawings with the sweet shy Leon Stadnick, and assisting her neighbor, Mrs. Petrovich, with her annual dyeing and selling of psyanky, decorative eggs. But now, she, Leon and their families are forced into hiding, first in the woods outside of their town and then into caverns beneath it. They battle sickness and starvation, and the local peasants who join the Nazis in hunting Jews through the ravaged countryside, but at no time are they more tested than when Hanna's father – briefly above ground to scavenge for food – goes missing, and suddenly, it's on Hanna to find him, and to find a way to keep her mother, brother and sister alive. This novel is inspired by the true story of Esther Stermer and her family, who survived underground for 511 days. Less than 5% of the Jewish population in Ukraine survived these Holocaust "Actions."
1941, Hitler's army crosses into Soviet-ruled Ukraine in a secret mission titled "Operation Barbarossa. A young Jewish girl, Hanna Slivka is fourteen when German soldiers arrive in her small village of Kwasova. Until their arrival, Hanna has split her time between playing with her younger siblings, sharing drawings with the sweet shy Leon Stadnick, and assisting her neighbor, Mrs. Petrovich, with her annual dyeing and selling of psyanky, decorative eggs. But now, she, Leon and their families are forced into hiding, first in the woods outside of their town and then into caverns beneath it. They battle sickness and starvation, and the local peasants who join the Nazis in hunting Jews through the ravaged countryside, but at no time are they more tested than when Hanna's father – briefly above ground to scavenge for food – goes missing, and suddenly, it's on Hanna to find him, and to find a way to keep her mother, brother and sister alive. This novel is inspired by the true story of Esther Stermer and her family, who survived underground for 511 days. Less than 5% of the Jewish population in Ukraine survived these Holocaust "Actions."
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  • Kirkus

    July 1, 2018
    This story of a family of Ukrainian Jews hiding in a cave during the Holocaust was inspired by actual events.Told in the voice of an older woman looking back as she tells her daughter about her experiences, this is a carefully researched, often moving narrative of one family's struggle and survival. Teenage Hanna's family lived an integrated life in a shtetl in an area that was sometimes Polish, sometimes Austrian, and sometimes Ukrainian due to shifting borders. Hanna's bucolic childhood involved attending school and helping her Christian neighbor decorate pysanky, traditional Easter eggs, while observing Jewish holidays and traditions at home. When Germany invades, the family finds themselves persecuted for their religion and eventually forced into hiding, along with other families, first in remote forest cabins and then for over a year in a series of caves with underground lakes. Hanna's first-person narration has a nostalgic air, with often detailed descriptions that display the author's research but detract from the story; at the same time, history is treated as personal, and the larger context of the Holocaust is only suggested. Despite these flaws, this is a moving story of survival and of the compassion of the Christian neighbor and forester who aided the families.This peek into the minutiae of life in hiding is transformed from mundane to poignant by the extraordinary circumstances of time and place. (historical note) (Historical fiction. 12-15)

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    September 1, 2018

    Gr 6 Up-This debut historical novel is a brilliantly rendered memorial to survivors of the Holocaust. Masih tells the story of Hanna Slivka, a teenage girl living in a small integrated community in Ukraine in 1941. The story begins before the Germans have invaded her small town, but not before the hatred of Hanna's heritage is first felt. From the very beginning, Hanna and her siblings are called ugly names by other children in the village, and as the German Army continues its campaign of hatred against the Jews, Hanna must see and hear things that no child ever should. Her family is forced to endure many injustices and humiliations once the Germans arrive and then it is too late for them to evacuate. Eventually, townspeople start to turn on one another for food and profit, and Hanna's family is forced to flee their home to the forest and caves in an attempt to survive. Although the topic of the Holocaust is now part of world history curriculum, students will find Masih's novel compelling. The story of the human spirit is richly embedded in the lives of a family trying desperately to not just stay alive but to stay together and to retain their faith. VERDICT A strong choice for young adult shelves.-Christina Paolozzi, Bonaire Elementary School, GA

    Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Mandel Vilar Press
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My Real Name is Hanna
My Real Name is Hanna
Tara Lynn Masih
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