Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Diary of Laura's Twin

The Diary of Laura's Twin

Kathy Kacer
Historical Fiction
For ages 9 to 12
Second Story Press, 2008   ISBN: 978-1897187395

Laura is going to be having her Bat Mitzvah in just three weeks and though she is confident about her ability to say the words from the Torah that she has learned, she is not at all happy about the additional project that the Rabbi has given her to do. She is going to have to learn about a Jewish girl a boy who was not able to have a Bar or Bat Mitzvah because of the events that took place in Europe before and during World War II. She is to "twin" with this other child and share her special day with him or her, in memory if not in person.

Laura has already done a project for school about the Holocaust and she does not really want to have to repeat the exercise. Plus she has already done something meaningful for her Bat Mitzvah – raising almost one thousand dollars for the African Well Fund. In doing this she hopes that she is making a difference for the future. Why must she look back into the past to learn even more about a very bleak and miserable time in the history of her people? It all seems to be such a waste of her precious time.

Nevertheless, when the Rabbi asks her to go to see an old lady, Laura agrees to do so. If what the lady says does not change Laura's mind about the project then she may drop it if she wishes. What Laura does not expect is that the lady, Mrs. Mandelcorn, gives Laura something that changes how Laura feels about the twinning project. Mrs. Madelcorn gives Laura the diary of a twelve year old girl called Sara. In the diary Sara describes what it was like to be imprisoned in the Warsaw ghetto from 1941 to 1943. Her story is a powerful one and it leaves Laura feeling very upset and turned around. How could such a terrible thing happen to such a young girl?

Then something happens in Laura's world that shows her that angry anti-Semitic behavior is not just a thing of the past. It is also something that happens in the present. Can Sara's story help Laura deal with what is happening to her today?

In this very special and moving book Kathy Kacer explores the idea that learning from the past is an important thing to do. Seeing how people many years ago coped with the trials that they were subjected to can help us face our trials in the present day. She also shows her readers how important the twinning project is for young Jewish girls and boys. It gives their coming of age ceremony a new significance and it helps them to connect with their past in a meaningful way.

Though the story in this book is fictional, many of the events described in Sara's diary did take place. The author adds to her story by providing her readers with further information about the Warsaw ghetto and about the Jews who were imprisoned there.