Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Terri Wangard Reviews The Children's Train

Young Jewish children have no idea why they are being mistreated. The attacks escalate, and their elders are powerless to stop the violence. Some parents are arrested, never to be seen again; others return broken, soon to die.

Peter, who never had any inclination to play rough sports, loves to play his violin. After his father dies from mistreatment, his mother manages to get him and his sister Becca on a kindertransport. The British have managed to arrange for Jewish children to come to Britain. Becca ends up in a wealthy home and a comfortable life. Peter becomes little better than a servant doing all the farm chores for a couple in Coventry. His friends Stephen and Hans are also in England, but Eva, the prettiest girl Peter has ever seen, is robbed of her seat on the train by her no-good brother.

As time passes, shy Peter becomes bold and joins the crusade against Hitler.

Ten thousand children escaped to England on the kindertransports. Few ever saw their parents again. The Children’s Train offers a glimpse of what life was like for those children, both in Germany and then in England. Besides Peter and Becca, we follow Charlie, whose father pulled him off the train, unable to part with his son; Noah, the orphan stowaway who is discovered and tossed off the train; Eva, who ends up in the camps; Stephen and Hans, who lose everything.

It’s a heart-wrenching tale, made all the more poignant because we know it accurately portrays life for the German Jewish children in the Third Reich.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Krysi Joseph Reviews The Children's Train

 "Great story from the view point of children, just how war looks. While it's hard to get across just how terrifying war is, the author does a great job conveying what it was like being persecuted by Hitler."

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Debbie Krenzer Reviews "The Children's Train" 5 Stars!

5 stars!
Unfortunately, there was a true part to this story and a reason why this book could be written with this background. A sad, tragic background.

I found this book to be very interesting and actually very intense. I found myself holding my breath through quite a lot of it. It seemed as though someone was always close to danger. I think the writer did a great job with the story and while it is a tragic one, I found it to be very entertaining and I did not want to put the book down. I was definitely cheering for the these children. I was also thinking how hard it would be to just hand off my child to a stranger in order to assure they would live. That would have to be one of the hardest things to do. Letting that little baby go would have killed me. And then living with the consequences of that father who pulled his son off. And that horrible mother who let her arrogant criminal son go instead of her young innocent daughter? That was the worst tragedy. I can't believe the daughter still loved her mother and cared for her.

But then one could go on and on discussing the pros and cons of why a parent should have or should not have done what they did. That parent has to live with what they did. And, it is only just a story. But I'm sure some of those things did happen.

I liked seeing the children's version of what was going on around them. I've read several books regarding WWII, but this is the first one from the the children's point of view and I definitely enjoyed reading it. It was insightful, poignant and really worth reading. I highly recommend doing so.


Friday, September 18, 2015

Artika Bakshi's Review on The Good Book Corner

The Children’s Train by Jana Zinser

The Children’s Train comes at a time when everyone has been talking about Anthony Doerr’s All The Light We Cannot See. With books such as Doerr’s Pulitzer winner and others, like The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Book Thief, one wonders how passé Jana’s book is. All these books bring to light, the traumatic experiences of children, who suffered because of the heinous ambitions of one man. Would Jana’s book add something new to the theme, or just be one of the many, that join the bandwagon of a tried and tested formula???

The novel starts with a heart-wrenching dedication…… “It is with great passion that I tell the story of these children who lived in a time of tremendous evil and had to be bold just to stay alive. Although the children in my story are fictional, they represent both the many children who rode the Kindertransport and those who were not lucky enough to get a seat on the train. Since the moment I heard their historic tale, they have not left my mind. The Kindertransport children came to live in my conscience and would not leave until I told their story. 

The Nazis killed six million Jews. One-and-a-half million of those Jews were children. Peter and Becca represent two of the more than ten thousand children who safely escaped to England on the Kindertransport. 
Most of the Kindertransport children never saw their parents again. All of them survived in their own ways and found their own paths in the world. If their tragedy taught them anything, it was that as long as there is life, there is hope, and sometimes, if you’re lucky, love. The children who survived these times are now in the twilight of their lives. But, in each, I imagine the heart of a child still lives and remembers what it was like to face the fear and sorrow that no child should ever know. They have shown us how valuable life is—and how hope can push us to survive beyond anything we thought we could bear. If we have learned anything from the struggles of their young lives, we will not be silent and stand by when evil comes calling. We will fight back”…… and then it was difficult for me to put the book down.

Along with Peter, there are many other characters and Jana skilfully manages to narrate and connect their respective stories. While Eva and Eddie live the horrors of the camps in Germany and Poland, Becca’s comfortable life in London, is marred by nightmares of never seeing her family again. The only thing that Peter has to hold on to is his love for music.“Violinists are fearless,” Peter countered. “Have you ever tried to play Mozart?”  While everything that was dear to these kinder is taken away from them, what stays with them is their music. The stories are simple and easy to read. Even though a lot has been written about WW2 and Hitler’s death camps, many stories are lost in the pages of the history books. I personally was not aware of the Kindertransport (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kindertransport), though I had read enough about the efforts made to rescue the Jews from Germany, Austria and Poland.

The Children’s Train, though not a literary marvel, is a very well researched book. The writing delineates the traumatic experiences and keeps the readers engrossed. The sadness, misery, love and most of all- HOPE, reflect through the pages.

YES….. Jana’s book captures the dark period of our modern history and makes us think, and then think again! I would recommend this book to young adults, and adults as well!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Rachel Stansel, NetGalley Reviewer

 "Where there is life, there is hope." This is the theme that permeates this novel based on the historic events of the Kindertransport which helped Jewish children flee German (and other European countries) for England. .Although this is a novel and the individuals are not real, the author was able to paint a picture of these times and places in a way that made them come alive in a heart-wrenching way.

The story jumps between the viewpoints of several of the children and the families they left behind as well as the lives of children unable to escape, showing the wide variations in lives led based on what boils down to the luck of the draw. This would be a good novel for late elementary to maybe early high school as a companion to talking about WWII and the Holocaust. 

A picture and story from Humans of New York a few years back really stuck with me and came to mind several times during the story. The woman said: "I lived in Poland, so we were persecuted from the first day of the war. First they took us from our home, then they put us in a ghetto, then they made us march, then they sent us to the camps. I was separated from everyone, but my brother later told me that my father froze to death. But I have children now, and grandchildren, and great grandchildren-- a great big family, all of them educated. Look at everything that came from just one person who escaped. Just goes to show that you can never kill a people with hate. There will always be someone left to carry on."https://www.facebook.com/humansofnewyork/photos/a.102107073196735.4429.102099916530784/516604491746989/?type=1

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Reviewer C. M. Gives The Children's Train 5 Out of 5 Stars!

C.M. a NetGalley reviewer, rates The Children's Train 5 out of 5 stars!

"The Children's Train is wonderfully written, couldn't put it down! Really makes you think what you would have done as a parent, grandparent and as a child, Could you make the same decisions, and could you adapt and cope with your new circumstances? Loved it!"

Thursday, September 3, 2015