Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Photographer for Back Cover

A special thanks to Amy Stephens, a professional photographer, normally of newborns and families, and sometimes a stray author. Her photos are unbelievably beautiful. Click here to check out her website.

Thanks Amy, for making my back cover photo look so great. I know it wasn't easy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Inspired by Renaissance Elementary 5th Graders!

I visited the 5th Graders at Renaissance Elementary School in Castle Rock, Colorado to talk about writing and The Children's Train.  Their questions and comments were thoughtful and smart. They helped me talk about the Kindertransport by acting out some of the characters in the book. They got it. There's nothing like children to understand what other children went through even if it was over 75 years ago. Thank you to Ms. Suzie, Ms. Billie, and Ms. Brittany for allowing me the privilege of interacting with their students. I can't wait to see what stories come from these budding writers!

Fiona McCormick gives The Children's Train 5 out of 5 stars!

 Fiona McCormick, a NetGalley reviewer rated The Children's Train 5 out of 5 stars!
"I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. It tells of the Kindertransport, evacuation to safety of Jewish children from Nazi Germany to Great Britain before the outset of the Second World War. The main character is Peter, an 11 year old talented violin player who is separated from his family when evacuated to England. As he grows up, he becomes an underground resistance fighter and on occasion, uses his violin to help 'free the Jewish people' as he had been predicted to do. We follow his life and those of his friends and family from the beginning of the persecution of the Jews in Germany through till the end of the war.

The book is heartrending and at times difficult to read due to the subject matter, but I believe this type of book must be written and read to keep the memories of the evil that happened during the Holocaust alive, and to help prevent it ever happening again. It is a work of fiction but the situations depicted are ones that happened again and again to real life families all over Europe before and during the war. It is very well written, realistic and sometimes quite stark, never flinching from the truth of the situation. I would definitely recommend this book."

Monday, August 24, 2015

Karen Blackman, NetGalley Reviewer gives 4 out of 5 stars

Karen Blackman, a NetGalley reviewer, gives The Children's Train a 4 out of 5 star rating.

"Powerful retelling of the plight of the children of the Kindertransport. Would be good as a set text to get older children to understand the full horror of the Jewish Plight in WWII."

Kristi King-Morgan Reviews The Children's Train 5 Out of 5 Stars

Kristi King-Morgan, a reviewer for NetGalley, gives The Children's Train a 5 out of 5 star rating.
"This book is about the Kindertransport that took Jewish children out of Germany when Hitler was in power. Peter, a small butcher’s son with a musical gift and a love of the violin, is the main character. Peter is sent away on a Kindertransport train at the age of 11 and the book follows the next seven years as Peter grows from a scared boy into a man fighting in the rebellion against the Nazi’s. This book takes a unique look at real life events from the fictional characters of children who left Germany on the Kindertransport.
All I can say is, wow! I have read the Diary of Anne Frank and other books based in this time period in history. I want my children to read this. Perhaps not suitable for elementary school children due to the violence, but if you want your children to know history (and not just the dry and watered down version in textbooks) then get this book for them. The author somehow manages to portray the horror of concentration camps, the brutality inflicted upon the Jews, and the harsh and hopeless living environments and still keep it okay for junior high children to read. Some of the violence and senseless slaughter is portrayed as people are shot right in front of the character’s eyes. There is some allusion to young girls being forced against their will, people being treated as slaves, as less than dogs, and the abject depravity that those who followed Hitler’s command perpetrated on the Jewish people. I am a writer and an editor and I had work I was supposed to be doing, but from the time I read the first line of this book, I was hooked. I read it in two nights and didn’t do any work other than read this book. Even the most imaginative author cannot come up with a story that rivals the horror of real life reflected in this book. I think it is very important for the younger generation to know the stark naked truth of what really happened rather than the glossed over history book version that they get in school. I hope youngsters will get this book, read it, and cry and rail against the fates at the suffering that these people endured at the hands of someone who convinced a nation to follow them in the wholesale slaughter of a people."

Friday, August 21, 2015

Photo of Kindertransport Children

Jewish refugee children, part of a Children's Transport (Kindertransport) from Germany, soon after arriving in Harwich. Great Britain, December 2, 1938.
Jewish refugee children, part of a Children's Transport (Kindertransport) from Germany, soon after arriving in Harwich. Great Britain, December 2, 1938. (from Holocaust Memorial Museum)
— Wide World Photo

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Educator's Review gives it a 5 Out of 5 Stars!!

Yvie Field, an educator, gives The Children's Train 5 out of 5 stars!
"This is a great introductory-level novel to the Holocaust. As someone that has had a lifelong interest in WWII and Holocaust studies, I like that this novel gives a variety of viewpoints and experiences...Jewish, German, Nazi, Resistance, British...they're all included in a realistic account. It is thoroughly engaging from start to finish. After reading, you have a better picture of the many devastating situations endured by Holocaust victims and survivors, as well as a clearer understanding of people’s positions and actions. But it's still all at an introductory level.

The novel is a little heavy for young readers, but I’d certainly recommend it for high school through adults. It's written without over-dramatizing or trying to be graphically-shocking, but the very nature of the events, even through the author’s delicate handling, could be overwhelming."

Sunday, August 16, 2015

5 Star Review of The Children's Train

Leah Gasentzo, a NetGalley reviewer, gave The Children's Train a 5 out of 5 star rating!

"I'm positive that I held my breath for most of this book. I wouldn't be surprised if I'd held my breath for the entire time I'd been reading this. This book was so unlike any other I've ever read. It's gripping, powerful, heartbreaking and intense - so, so, so intense. During the terrible reign of Adolf Hitler, the kindertransport brought Jewish children away from Germany and into England, where they were all scattered into different families or parts of England where it was thought they'd be kept safe from Hitler's reach. The stories of each individual character in the book were horrifying; especially knowing that it was all based on real facts. I know I cried through about half of the book - all the way to the end, and when Hitler finally got what he deserved and Peter ran off to get his sister, my tears were pretty unbearable. I honestly have no words right now; this book was amazing and thrilling, and so sad."