Thursday, December 24, 2015
POETRY FRIDAY- PAPER HEARTS
When I think about Christmas, I think about people risking/giving all that they have. It makes sense then, to feature PAPER HEARTS, a novel-in-verse/CYBILS nominee on Christmas Day.
PAPER HEARTS is the story of Fania and Zlata, two Polish-Jewish teenagers, who have lost their families in the horror of the Holocaust. Zlatka's family comes from the town of Pruzany in Belarus. The family is chosen for transport to Auschwitz. Zlatka's father and brothers are separated from the women and children at the beginning of the transport, never to be seen again. Her mother and younger sibling are sent to the death chambers when they arrive at the camp. Zlatka is left with her younger sister, Necha, who quickly succumbs to illness.
Fania comes from Bialystok. In an attempt to save her life, the family tries to pass her off as Aryan, but she is quickly caught and eventually ends up at Auschwitz, with several other girls she has befriended on the journey. There, she learns that her entire family perished. After Necha dies, Fania and her group of friends draw Zlatka into their circle, and the girls help each other survive overcrowded conditions, starvation, backbreaking labor, and unbearable temperatures.
were worse things
took away the fear.
For Fania's 20th birthday, Zlatka wants to do something special for her dear friend. Despite the fact that she will be killed if she is caught, she begs, barters, and steals materials and creates an origami birthday card. Fifteen girls risk their lives to sign the card and Fania carries the heart through the remainder of the war. The book is based on an actual event, and the heart can actually be seen in a museum in Montreal.
This is a meticulously researched, beautifully written, novel in verse. I can't wait to get back to school next week, so I can share it with my middle schoolers. I know they will love it.
For an interview with author Meg Wiviott, go here.
Irene Latham is hosting Poetry Friday this week.