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Choices: The True Story of One Family's Daring Escape to Freedom

post written by Emma Filbrun

Choices: The True Story of One Family's Daring Escape to Freedom by J. E. LauferTitle: Choices: The True Story of One Family’s Daring Escape to Freedom
Author: J. E. Laufer
Major Themes: Communism, Escapes, Hungary, Jews, Refugees
Synopsis: Soon after the Hungarian Revolution, a young family decided they must escape so their children would be free.

Once in awhile, we come across a book that is unexpectedly great. Choices is one such book. It was sent to me to be reviewed, so I read it aloud to the children (after a quick scan through to determine the suitability). This turned out to be our favorite in the last while! My 16-year-old volunteered, right after I finished reading it, that he would give it a 5-star review; the 7-year-old added that he would only give it 4 stars, but only because of the lying in it.

Choices tells the story of Adolf and Kati and their two young children, Gyorgy and Judit, who was almost two at the time of the story. The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 had just taken place, and rather than the freedom that people had been trying to achieve, the Communists were cracking down. Kati knew that if they wanted their children to be free, they would have to escape to the West.

Telling neighbors they were going to visit a sick relative, the young family left on the train for a town close to the Austrian border, where they found a guide who would take them across a bridge to freedom. After carrying their sleeping children 20 kilometers through dark, frozen fields and woods, they arrived at the guard post—but the guard who had been bribed to let them across was not on duty! What would happen to the small group of refugees? To make matters worse, Kati was remembering what had happened only just a little over 10 years before, when her entire Jewish family was taken to Auschwitz—she was the sole survivor. What would happen to the family now?

The only thing I had ever read about the Hungarian Revolution before this was a short article in National Geographic from the mid-1950s, so Choices was very interesting to me from a historical standpoint, not to mention the exciting adventure story. We liked that this was a true story, written by Judit herself from the memories shared by her parents. The courage and strength displayed by Adolf and Kati as they were determined to find a better life for their children was amazing and inspiring. If you enjoy true stories of adventures and escapes, you will enjoy this book.

I received a free copy of this book, and chose to write a review.

WARNING: Several times, Adolf and Kati felt like they had to lie to protect themselves and their children.

Age Levels:

Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, 10 – 13, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, 12 – 15


Links to buy Choices:

Amazon: Paperback | Kindle

AbeBooks: View Choices on

Book Depository: Paperback


Communism, Escapes, Hungary, Jews, Refugees

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