post written by Emma Filbrun
Title: The Promise
Author: Pnina Bat Zvi and Margie Wolfe
Major Themes: Germany, Holocaust, Jews, Sisters
Synopsis: Two sisters cling to each other in a concentration camp, trying to survive and stay together.
I’m amazed at the true stories that are still being told from World War II. The Promise is one that I just found. This is the true story told by their daughters, of two sisters who survived a concentration camp only because of their love for each other.
When Rachel and Toby’s parents were taken by the Nazis, they gave their daughters a tiny box with three gold coins. These coins were only to be used when they had to be, and the girls would know when that time came. Then, the girls were taken to the concentration camp and made to work hard doing nonsensical jobs. As the stronger of the two, Toby kept the coins safe. When Rachel fell sick one day and was taken away, would Toby be able to find her and save her before it was too late?
Just enough is shown in this book to give children a vague idea of the horrors of the concentration camps. The main focus is on the girls and their love for each other. Do be prepared to answer some questions about what happened in the camps; some of the horror is alluded to but not stated directly. For example, a girl got sick one day and disappeared; the others knew they would never see her again. The pictures help to create the feeling of the camps. There is a little color, but mostly the pictures are gray.
One thing I noticed that I’m not sure is accurate was when the guard was taking roll call. The girls in Barrack 25 were called by name. From what I’ve read, they were called by number rather than name. This change did make the story better for young children, though.
This book would be a good supplement to a study of World War II and the Holocaust. It is also a heartwarming story showing love between sisters. I’m glad we stumbled across it!
I received a free ecopy of this book from NetGalley, and chose to share my honest opinion.
Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12
Links to buy The Promise:
AbeBooks: View Choices on AbeBooks.com
Book Depository: Hardcover
Keywords: Germany, Holocaust, Jews, Sisters