Irena’s Children: A True Story of Courage by Tilar J. Mazzeo, adapted by Mary Cronk Farrell


81cglftedwl    Irena’s Children: A True Story of Courage (Young Readers Edition) by Tilar J. Mazzeo, adapted by Mary Cronk Farrell, Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2016.  9781481449915 

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4.5

What did you like about the book? Irena Sendler, a Catholic social worker in Warsaw, became increasingly worried about the fate of Jewish children and families as the Nazis tightened their hold around the city. Jews were starving, and more and more children were homeless on the streets, at risk of random violence from the German soldiers. Called upon to put her training into action, Irena immediately answered the call to smuggle food and money to Jewish families in the Ghetto, and to find homes for hundreds of children whose parents either were dead or couldn’t feed them. This is an extremely detailed account of the growing network of men and women, Jewish and Catholic, who, along with Irena Sendler, put their lives on the line to help the endangered Jewish population during the worst years of World War II. Only in the 1990’s after the Cold War ended was Irena’s story widely told. I appreciate that the Nazi cruelty was not sugar-coated for children, and that the violence was balanced with the accounts of dedication and bravery on the part of the Resistance. Still, it’s hard to read.

To whom would you recommend this book?  This is an excellent source for research on children in Warsaw during World War II, and as source material on a little know heroine of the time.

Who should buy this book? Elementary and middle school libraries, and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Either biography or 940 (World War II)

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: November 15, 2016

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