Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Destined to Live: A True Story of a child in the holocaust

Destined to Live: A True Story of a child in the holocaust

Ruth Gruener
For ages 9 to 12
Scholastic, 2007   ISBN: 978-0439892049

Luncia has a very comfortable and happy life living in the Polish town of Lvov with her mother and father. She has a beautiful room to play in, lovely clothes to wear, and because her parents own a sweet shop, she gets plenty of sweet treats to eat. And then, on September 19th, 1939, everything changes. The Germans invade Poland and not long after their arrival they start placing restrictions on the Jews living in the country. First Luncia is not allowed to go to public school anymore and then all the Jews in Lvov are required to wear a white armband at all times. Then the Germans demand that all the Jews hand over any jewelry or precious items that they might have. Next they want anything made of metal. After that they come to people's home to take away their best pieces of furniture. There is nothing that Luncia and her parents can do but to comply.

After this matters become much worse; the German decide that the time has come to take the Jews away. Luncia and her parents and grandmother hide as best they can. They manage to stay together despite the odds until they are finally sent to a ghetto. Life in the ghetto is appalling and Luncia cannot imagine things getting worse. But they do.

This is a powerful and true story about one young girl's experiences during World War II. Often when children read about momentous events in history books they have a hard time connecting with the people who were affected by those events. Through Luncia's story they will come to appreciate how horrific the holocaust was. Luncia herself describes the intimate details of what it was like to be in hiding for years on end, what it was like to live in a constant state of fear, and how much she suffered both physically and emotionally.

This is an excellent title to help young independent readers understand what the Holocaust meant on a personal level.