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February 2015 NewGen Book of the Month.
Of the many stories of the Holocaust, that of the Jews of Riga in Latvia is among the less well known. This book tells their story for young people, clearly and honestly, emphasising its importance and relevance to us all. Discovering that her great-grandmother had come from Riga in the early 1900s inspired Vanessa Curtis to find out what happened to those relatives who stayed: Jewish, their fate was the worst imaginable. She describes those terrible times through the eyes of 15 year old Hanna, a normal, lively teenager, with a handsome boyfriend. Readers will find it easy to identify with Hanna, which makes her account of what happens to her even more affecting. The story ends on a note of hope for Hanna, and is a powerful tribute to all the Latvian victims of the Nazis. ~ Andrea Reece
The Earth is Singing is Vanessa’s first historical novel, which she was inspired to write when she discovered her own Jewish Latvian heritage.
Vanessa says: 'The story of the Jews of Riga is not widely known. After finding out that my great-grandmother was born there, but came over to England at the turn of the twentieth century, I began to wonder what happened to the Jewish friends and relatives that she had left behind. I visited the Riga Ghetto Museum and saw photographs of many of the thousands of Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazis in 1941. Their eyes seemed to be telling me to relate their story, so that is what I did. I am delighted that Usborne have given me the opportunity to bring this story to a wider audience.'
If you want to read more in this area then try Inflicted by Ria Frances.
My name is Hanna. I am 15. I am Latvian. I live with my mother and grandmother. My father is missing, taken by the Russians. I have a boyfriend and I'm training to be a dancer. But none of that is important any more. Because the Nazis have arrived, and I am a Jew. And as far as they are concerned, that is all that matters. This is my story.
Before the war, fifteen-year-old Hanna used to spend her days attending the ballet school in Riga and daydreaming about her boyfriend Uldis. But now her father is missing, taken away by Soviet Forces and no one knows what lies ahead.
When the Nazis invade, they enforce bewildering and brutal new rules on the Jews of Riga, and Hanna must fight to keep what is left of her family together as they are commanded to move into the ghetto with 30,000 others. Faced with the prospect of losing her mother and grandmother forever, Hanna is pushed to her limits in a horrifying world where the smallest choices could mean life or death.
Take a virtual tour of the Riga Ghetto, find information about the Holocaust, Nazi Germany and the Second World War, and discover more about Judaism with Usborne Quicklinks. Go to www.usborne.com/quicklinks and enter the keywords “The Earth is Singing”.
In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.
Publication date: 27/01/2015
Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd
|Publication date:||27th January 2015|
|Publisher:||Usborne Publishing Ltd|
|Genres:||NewGen - YA Fiction, Books of the Month, Reader Reviewed Books, eBook Favourites, Reading Groups,|
|Categories:||Historical fiction (Children's / Teenage), Social issues: religious issues (Children's / Teenage),|
Vanessa Curtis's first children's book Zelah Green: Queen of Clean (Egmont) was shortlisted for the 2009 Waterstones Children's Book Prize. The sequel Zelah Green: One More Little Problem was released in July 2010. Vanessa is also a freelance book reviewer and the author of three books on Virginia Woolf. She co-edits The Virginia Woolf Bulletin, the magazine of the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain and, as a trained pianist, also teaches the piano part-time. She works as a reader for a literary consultancy. Vanessa lives near Chichester harbour, West Sussex. Vist Vanessa's website at www.vanessacurtis.comMore About Vanessa Curtis