Alias Anna: A True Story of Outwitting the Nazis

HarperCollins. Mar. 2022. 352p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780063083899.
Gr 5-8–This compelling book of loss and perseverance will stay with readers long after they have finished. It is the story of a Jewish girl and her sister who lived in Ukraine in the 1930s and 1940s. First, the siblings cope with Stalin’s ruthless regime and then the Nazi invasion. Zhanna and Frina are talented pianists, which affords them a small amount of fame, something helpful but also incredibly dangerous for two Jewish girls trying to avoid detection. It doesn’t take long for this true story of evasion and outmaneuvering the Nazis to become fraught with danger and tension. With Ukraine in the news, and anti-Semitism at an all-time high around the world, this book, unfortunately, feels timely. Despite the horrors these two young girls endured, this work is still hopeful. In so many instances, strangers were willing to risk their own lives to aid them. This lyrical biography (written with Dawson, Zhanna’s son) features significant back matter, including discography, original photographs and correspondence, further reading, and more. The verse format and harrowing narrative make this a quick read for reluctant and striving readers.
VERDICT This powerful work of persistence and hope is highly recommended.

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