Touch Wood: A Girlhood in Occupied France

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9780027773408: Touch Wood: A Girlhood in Occupied France

In this autobiographical novel set in Nazi-occupied France, Ren‚ee, a young Jewish girl, and her family flee their home in Alsace and live a precarious existence in Paris until Ren‚ee and her sister escape to the shelter of a Catholic school in Normandy.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 6-9 Roth-Hano recreates her girlhood experiences and impressions as a Jewish child in France during World War II. Written in a present-tense diary style, the story traces the family from the summer of 1940 after the German invasion has forced them to leave their home in Alsace; through a prolonged separation in which Renee and her two younger sisters are sent to live in a home managed by Catholic nuns; through the confusion and disruption of the eagerly awaited allied invasion; and ends with the family's reunion in Paris. While parts of Roth-Hano's story are familiar elements of many personal narratives of Holocaust experiences, they are, at the same time, very fresh and individual. As she and her family realize that Paris is not a sanctuary from the Nazis, she rails against the injustice she sees and is outraged and confused by the French betrayal of the Jews. Although the diary format sometimes makes the narrative jumpy, it is effective in involving readers and making the events seem immediate. The portrayal of Renee's emotions from petty jealousy to profound outrage rings true. Readers of Aranka Siegal's Upon the Head of a Goat (Farrar, 1981) and Clara Isaacman's Clara's Story (Jewish Pub. Soc, 1984) will have their point of view broadened by Touch Wood, which offers a French perspective. Many memorable stories have come out of the Holocaust. Touch Wood should earn a place among them. Louise L. Sherman, Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, N.J.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

The author writes of her life in Paris beginning in 1940, after her family has left their home in Alsace, which the Germans want to annex. Despite the restrictions being set daily for French citizens and especially for Jews, her parents provide their daughters with a safe haven, where other relatives are welcomed with fanfare and rejoicing, no matter how humble the accommodations. But friends and acquaintances start to disappear from Paris, taken away in the middle of the night by the police or soldiers. Roth-Hano and her sisters are sent to a Catholic women's residence in Normandy, where the girls remain until the German surrender. Told in diary-like entries, the author recreates compelling scenes from her past: breaking curfew to spend time with a friend; escaping out the back door of a friend's home as police come through the front door and take the family away; living through the bombing of the Normandy invasion; returning home, at last, to her parents. She conveys these memories with clear recall of the hunger felt during food rationing, of the effort of working through the religious dissonance of Catholicism and Judaism, and of the sorrowwithout self-pityfor the terrors around her. Ages 10-14.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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