After the war

Author Matas, Carol,
Language English
Publisher
New York N.Y.: Aladdin Paperbacks, 1997




Annotation:

9 and up.



Subjects :

  • Holocauste, 1939-1945
  • Survivants de l'Holocauste
  • Juvenile fiction
  • Fiction
  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
  • Romans, nouvelles, etc. pour la jeunesse
  • Escapes
  • Holocaust, 1933-1945
  • Fiction.
  • Chagrin
  • Holocaust survivors
  • Grief
  • Jews
  • âEvasions

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Author Illustrator(s) :

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Best Books :

  • Books for You: An Annotated Booklist for Senior High, Fourteenth Edition, 2001 National Council of Teachers of English
  • Middle And Junior High School Library Catalog, Eighth Edition, 2000 H.W. Wilson
  • Middle and Junior High School Library Catalog, Ninth Edition, 2005 H.W. Wilson
  • Best of the Bunch, 1996 Association of Jewish Librarians
  • Booklist Book Review Stars, April 1, 1996 American Library Association
  • Booklist Editors' Choice: Books for Youth, 1996 American Library Association
  • Books in the Middle: Outstanding Books, 1996 Voice of Youth Advocates
  • Notable Children's Trade Books in the Field of the Social Studies, 1996 National Council for the Social Studies NCSS
  • School Library Journal: Best Books for Young Adults, 1996 Cahners
  • YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, 1997 American Library Association
  • YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, 1997 American Library Association

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Awards, Honors & Prizes :

  • Rachel Bessin/ Bessie and Harold Frisch Award, 1997 Winner Canada
  • Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People, 1997 Finalist Canada
  • Red Maple Award, 1998 Winner Ontario, Canada
  • Society of School Librarians International Book Awards, 1996 Honor United States

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State & Provincial Reading List :

  • Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award, 1999; Nominee Manitoba, Canada
  • Red Maple Award, 1998; Nominee Ontario, Canada
  • South Carolina Junior Book Award, 1999; Nominee South Carolina
  • Utah Children's Book Awards, 1999; Nominee Utah
  • Young Adult Reading Program, 1998; South Dakota

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Reading Measurement Programs:


0689807228
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York:) 1996.

Accelerated Reader
Interest Level Upper Grade
Book Level 4.9
Accelerated Reader Points 5

Lexile, MetaMetrics, Inc.

Lexile Measure 840
Accelerated Reader Points

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Interest Level 6-8
Reading Level 6
Accelerated Reader Points 7

Accelerated Reader
Interest Level Upper Grade
Book Level 4.9
Accelerated Reader Points 5

Lexile, MetaMetrics, Inc.

Lexile Measure 840
Accelerated Reader Points

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Interest Level 6-8
Reading Level 6
Accelerated Reader Points 7

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Reviews :

Claire Rosser (KLIATT Review, January 1998 (Vol. 32, No. 1))
After liberation in 1945, surviving Jews returned to their former homes only to find that most of their family members had died in the war, and that their non-Jewish neighbors were less than welcoming. In fact, anti-Semitism was as virulent as ever in many places. Groups of Jews, especially young men and women, formed resistance groups to transport Jews to Palestine, where they hoped to establish a safe homeland. Before Israel became a state in 1948, 69,000 Jews traveled illegally by sea to Palestine. Matas tells this basic story in her novel, After the War. She focuses the narrative in a 1st-person account of Ruth, a 15-year-old survivor of Buchenwald. Ruth is a strong person, but unwilling to begin to hope and care and love again, after the horror of what she has endured. This is a story of her journey to Palestine, and also her journey to wholeness and healing. There is a lot of action and drama in this brief novel, which tells YA readers something of the plight of Jews who managed to survive the Holocaust. Matas also wrote Lisa's War and Code Name Kris about resistance during the war. (An ALA Best Book for YAs.) KLIATT Codes: JS*--Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 1996, Simon & Schuster/Aladdin, 133p. map. 18cm, $4.50. Ages 13 to 18.
(PUBLISHER: Aladdin Paperbacks (New York N.Y.:), PUBLISHED: 1997 c1996.)

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
After WWII, a teenage girl risks her life helping immigrant children across Europe to Palestine. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)
(PUBLISHER: Aladdin Paperbacks (New York N.Y.:), PUBLISHED: 1997 c1996.)

Deborah Mervold (CM Magazine, February 13, 1998 (Vol. IV, No. 12))
The award-winning novel After the War tells the story of Ruth Mendenberg, a Polish teenager, who has survived World War II in Auschwitz only to return to her home to find it occupied by her German servant. Ruth, 15, begins to search for any remaining family in the town's city hall where she has little success, but she does meet up with a Jewish underground organization that smuggles illegal immigrants into Palestine. Because she has no home or family, Ruth joins a group of children who are being smuggled through Europe in the hope that Britain will allow them into Palestine. The story is based on actual events that occurred between 1946-49 during the struggle for a Jewish homeland. The story tells of the group's journey from country to country as they are sometimes helped and other times hindered in their travels. The group does not know whom to trust or, at times, where to turn. When they finally reach Italy and are put on a boat for Palestine, Ruth finds her brother Simon. An informative sidelight involves the various political groups that court the Jewish refugees. Simon becomes part of the Betar and later the Irgun, an Orthodox militant faction, whereas Ruth joins the Haganah, a group that will fight only for defense and will not initiate aggression. Interspersed throughout the novel are Ruth's memories of her earlier years, the happy family times, and the period in the concentration camp. The memories appear in a different font and appear less and less as the novel progresses and Ruth is forced to come to grips with her past. Her journey with the children helps her to face her demons as she is instructed to listen to their stories. It is in the telling of their stories that they can accept the past and face the future. The novel's hopeful nature implies that there is strength and beauty in human nature which is hidden in deep places but which, for lasting survival, must surface. The novel ends with the arrival at the kibbutz in Israel of Ruth and her companions. After the War is highly recommended as a reading choice for the middle years. It adds a detailed understanding of the period immediately after the Second World War and the difficulties faced by those who survived the conflict's horrors. Highly recommended. Rating: **** /4. Grades 6 - 9. 1996, Scholastic Canada, 137 pp., paper, $4.99. Ages 11 to 14.
(PUBLISHER: Scholastic Canada (Richmond Hill Ont.:), PUBLISHED: c1996.)

Ian Stewart (CM Magazine, September 20, 1996 (Vol. III, No. 2))
After the War is Carol Matas's fictional account of Ruth Mendenberg, a fifteen year old Holocaust survivor, who finds personal self-renewal in the courage and love of the Jewish people. After the War is also a fact based account of the great post-World War II Jewish migration to Eretz Israel, the land of Israel. Ruth's days and nights are haunted by the memories of life and death in the camps. At times she wonders if the ashes of her mother and sister drifted down from the chimneys of the Auschwitz crematoria onto her, as she was marched off to the slave labour camps. Although alive, Ruth's soul and spirit are mere ashes: she has been psychologically destroyed in the crucible of Nazism's burnt offerings. She believes that love and happiness can no longer exist for her. After what she has seen and experienced, survival is more of a punishment than a blessing. After her release from the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz, Ruth returns home to the Polish town of Kielce. She hoped to find at least one surviving relative; tragically, she is told that none have survived the Nazi horror. She meets a Zionist organizer from Palestine, who tries to convince her to migrate to Israel and help build a new Jewish state. Before she makes a final decision, however, the Jews of Kielce are caught in a murderous pogrom: a slaughter of Jews. Nazism's defeat, in 1945, and the world wide recognition of the Holocaust's horrors did not ensure that Europe's surviving Jews were safe from anti-Semites. On 4 July 1946, Jews in Kielce were accused of kidnapping Christian children and slitting their throats. Witnesses said that the Christian blood was used in strange barbarous Jewish rituals and that a rampaging mob murdered dozens of innocent Jews in the slaughter that engulfed the town. The Kielce pogrom was not an isolated incident. The Jews had been invited back by the government, but they were being attacked, beaten and murdered throughout Poland. It was the Kielce murders, however, that became the catalyst for the brichah - the flight of Eastern Jews to Palestine. Brichah agents in Europe planned escapes for thousands of fleeing Jews. It was very secret, very dangerous and very illegal. The stateless Jews did not have proper papers to cross the borders of Poland, Czechoslovakia and Italy, and the British had closed the borders of Palestine to further Jewish immigration. Some border guards could be bribed, but others shot to kill, and any Jew caught would end up in a detention camp. In the story, Ruth agrees to join the illegal organization and to shepherd a group of younger children on the journey to Palestine. She has no conviction to the cause; she is just alone and, as the brichah organizer told her, she had nothing else to do with her life and nowhere else to go. Throughout the terrifying adventure she risks her life for these children, just as other young Jews risked their lives for her. During the journey, they encounter drunken murderous border guards, hunger, sickness, and the cold brutality of the British navy. As Ruth goes through these experiences and listens to the children's and other young people's stories, her despair is slowly transformed through a tortuous metamorphosis. These young people's courage in the face of unthinkable atrocity, their deep fears and their hidden hopes open her eyes to new possibilities. Through knowing these children, she begins to face life, find love and comes to terms with her sadness. Ruth's and the children's stories are terrible testimonies to human evil. Matas does not spare a young reader's sensibilities. The horrors the Jewish people faced and suffered under the Nazi autarchy are brutal in their honesty. Matas clearly believes that these stories must be told and re-told. Unfortunately the world does not learn much from history, but at least it must not be allowed to forget the evil that is Nazism. It is also important that Matas has not forgotten the courage of the brave Poles who helped Jews, at the risk of their own lives, during the war. Those heroes who hid, fed and protected Jews are rightfully remembered. If there is a fault in After the War it is a somewhat artificial and cumbersome treatment of opposing Jewish political attitudes to the issues of peace, land, and security. Young readers will not be attuned to these political elements. It is an addition that diminishes the human elements of Ruth's story, which is the focus of the book and unnecessarily removes it from its vital historical context. A sequel would be a better place to explore these important elements. Carol Matas has written a very good and important book. I hope that teachers and librarians recommend After the War to their students. Highly Recommended Rating: **** /4. Grades 7 - 9. 1996, Scholastic Canada Ltd., 144 pages, hardcover, $16.99. Ages 12 to 14.
(PUBLISHER: Scholastic Canada (Richmond Hill Ont.:), PUBLISHED: c1996.)

Ingrid Johnston (Resource Links, December 1996 (Vol. 2, No. 2))
Carol Matas follows her successful books about the Second World War seen through the eyes of young people with this novel about the experiences of young Holocaust survivors after the war. Fifteen-year-old Ruth Mendenberg, a survivor of Buchenwald, returns to her village in Poland hoping to find some members of her family still alive. When she discovers that she is all alone in the world, she almost despairs but is saved by members of the Jewish underground organization who are smuggling Jewish survivors into Palestine. The remainder of the book describes Ruth's adventures as she helps to lead a group of children across more than half a continent from Poland to Eretz, Israel. Matas has the ability to convey horrific situations and complex emotions simply and effectively. In this novel, she enables readers to understand the plight of children who have survived unfathomable horrors at the hands of the Nazis only to face further danger and terror after the war has ended. The ongoing hatred and repression of Jewish people in Europe and Britain's policy of keeping Jews out of Palestine combine to make the world described in the book an unsafe place for any Jewish child. Matas effectively conveys the determination of these children to fight for their lives, their feelings of hopelessness and anger and the gradual rekindling of their emotions and hopes as they discover there is still love in the world. The first-person narrative of the novel allows readers to gain gradual insight into Ruth Mendenberg's experiences and emotions and to share her understanding of the realities of a post-war Europe. While Ruth's character and her experiences are skillfully portrayed, Matas is less successful in depicting the journey of the children across Europe. The book moves too quickly from one scene to the next, allowing little opportunity for readers to reflect on the different situations the children find themselves in. When a number of the children are killed in fights on their journey and in an attack on the ship taking them to Palestine, the narrative barely pauses for readers to take a breath before it moves on to another country, another scene of drama and another conflict. The scope of the book often seems too large for the number of pages allowed for the descriptions. Interspersed with the fast-moving action are flashbacks to the war, creating yet another situation to be considered in the brief time span. This limitation of the book is substantial but not overwhelming. Matas is a generally convincing writer and the strength of the first-person narrative enables the novel to rise above a simple attempt to provide a cameo of life after the Second World War to become a story of a young girl searching for peace, love and a new life. Thematic links include: Holocaust--fiction; World War II--fiction; Survival--fiction. Resource Links Rating: G (Good, great at times, generally useful!), Grade 6-10. 1996, Scholastic, Hdbk, $16.99. Ages 11 to 15.
(PUBLISHER: Scholastic Canada (Richmond Hill Ont.:), PUBLISHED: c1996.)

Hazel Rochman (Booklist, April 1, 1996 (Vol. 92, No. 15))
This is a multi-book review. See also the title Four Perfect Pebbles. There has been a flood of books about the Holocaust recently, partly because of the fiftieth anniversary remembrances of the end of World War II and the liberation of the death camps. The opening of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has aroused national interest, and so has the requirement in many states that the Holocaust be taught as part of the curriculum. As survivors are getting older, many who have been silent now feel compelled to tell their stories. The books are not all good. Every survivor is not a writer. Oral histories need editing and retelling, as in Steven Spielberg's superb new documentary film Survivors of the Holocaust. Yet, just when it seems we have so much material that there can't possibly be anything more to say, new stories come along that tell what happened with a personal intensity, with particulars, that makes us know what the overwhelming statistics mean for people like us. For older high-school readers, there are unsparing survivor accounts, such as Carl Friedman's Nightfather (1994). But what about middle-graders not yet ready for adult books? One genre is the escape story, which combines the excitement of adventure with the grim truth of what the survivors have escaped from. Two fine new books draw on authentic personal accounts of survivors who move back and forth between memory and a haunted present. As in accounts of slavery and the Underground Railroad, we are always conscious of the millions who did not get away. Matas' docunovel is about young Jews trying to reach Palestine after the war. The story is told in the present tense by 15-year-old Ruth, who returns, alone, from Buchenwald in 1945. In the first scene she tries to go back to her home in Poland, but she is chased off by the people who have taken her house. She joins an underground organization and helps lead a group of children with false documents on a dangerous journey across Europe and then on a boat that tries to evade the British blockade of Palestine. Woven into the action are stark vignettes of what Ruth is trying to forget and of what the children tell her--of ghettos, roundups, transports, camps, massacre. A teenage boy crawled out alive from a mass grave; an eight-year-old cared for his infant brother in the forest; Ruth last saw her mother and sister marched off to the gas chamber in Auschwitz, where "a red glow from the furnaces covered everything." The young people remember, and they argue about God, about Zionism, about guilt. It's unrealistic that Ruth and even the young children should be so articulate about their feelings ("I'm sick of this numbness, but I know it's too dangerous to wake up" ). And as Ruth begins to allow herself to feel again, there's not only adventure but also romance with a brave, good, perfect young leader. However, the historical incidents are true, and Matas has retold them and shaped them into a tightly edited drama far from the rambling and repetition of authentic oral history. The climactic scene in which Ruth finds the brother she feared was dead--hears his voice, then finds him on the deck of the ship, and touches his face while the hushed crowd watches--is something you want to read over and over again; it is a miracle. Perl weaves the history of the Holocaust with a survivor's personal memories of what happened to her family. The writing is direct and devastating, with no rhetoric or sensationalizing. The truth is in what's said and in what's left out. On the night of the Nazi rampage of Krystallnacht, the Gestapo came for Marion Blumenthal's father: "Get dressed and come with us," they told him. He returned home from prison 11 days later; "not that evening, nor at any future time did he speak of what his life in Buchenwald had been like." Marion (and also her mother) tells of how the family escaped from Germany to Holland, where they spent four years in the deportation camp of Westerbork. Then they were sent back to Germany to Bergen-Belsen, where the crematoriums could no longer keep up with the body count, and the dead were strewn around or burned in open pits. Finally, the Blumenthals were crowded onto a "death train" that wound its way across Germany. Marion's father died of typhus soon after the war. The rest of the family finally got their visas to the U.S., and the last part of the book is about Marion's teenage years in the Midwest. The personal facts bring it home: at age 10 at the time of liberation, Marion weighed 35 pounds; at 13 after three years of frenzied eating, she had put on 100 pounds. The several black-and-white photos include personal family pictures as well as views of the camps and the Hitler youth. Of course, one book can't do it all. Connect these titles with other Holocaust accounts (such as Boas' We Are Witnesses, 1995, based on the diaries of five teenagers who did not survive) and also with books about racism in the past and today. Category: Middle Readers. 1996, Simon & Schuster, $16. Gr. 5-9. Starred Review.
(PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York:), PUBLISHED: c1996.)

Claire Rosser (KLIATT Review, January 1998 (Vol. 32, No. 1))
After liberation in 1945, surviving Jews returned to their former homes only to find that most of their family members had died in the war, and that their non-Jewish neighbors were less than welcoming. In fact, anti-Semitism was as virulent as ever in many places. Groups of Jews, especially young men and women, formed resistance groups to transport Jews to Palestine, where they hoped to establish a safe homeland. Before Israel became a state in 1948, 69,000 Jews traveled illegally by sea to Palestine. Matas tells this basic story in her novel, After the War. She focuses the narrative in a 1st-person account of Ruth, a 15-year-old survivor of Buchenwald. Ruth is a strong person, but unwilling to begin to hope and care and love again, after the horror of what she has endured. This is a story of her journey to Palestine, and also her journey to wholeness and healing. There is a lot of action and drama in this brief novel, which tells YA readers something of the plight of Jews who managed to survive the Holocaust. Matas also wrote Lisa's War and Code Name Kris about resistance during the war. (An ALA Best Book for YAs.) KLIATT Codes: JS*--Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 1996, Simon & Schuster/Aladdin, 133p. map. 18cm, $4.50. Ages 13 to 18.
(PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York:), PUBLISHED: c1996.)

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
After WWII, a teenage girl risks her life helping immigrant children across Europe to Palestine. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)
(PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York:), PUBLISHED: c1996.)

Betsy Hearne (The Bulletin of the Center for ChildrenÂ’s Books, April 1996 (Vol. 49, No. 8))
The author of several other novels set during World War II, Matas casts this docudrama into the form of a story related by Ruth Mendenberg, a fifteen-year-old survivor of the Ostroviec ghetto, Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and post-war Polish anti-Semitic pogroms. Italicized flashbacks give us a glimpse of her horrific memories as she joins a Zionist group that makes its way across dangerous borders, with the goal of illegal entry into Israel. Although their ship is attacked by the British and Ruth is taken to a refugee camp in Cyprus along with her companions, she does find one of her brothers (nearly eighty members of her family are dead) and escapes with her boyfriend to the promised land. The action is fast paced and the history well researched, but too much information has been loaded onto the dialogue and first-person narrative. In addition to having an unbelievably broad perspective on the European/Middle Eastern political panorama ("Betar is aligned with the Irgun in Palestine, a militant group which launches attacks on the British to try to help them decide to leave Palestine"), Ruth has a self-conscious flippancy ("Of course, I can't swim, they don't give lessons in concentration camps") that seems to belong more to a 1990s suburban middle-schooler than to a 1940s victim of the Holocaust. What's realized well is not the traumatic experiences themselves-which seem almost generically packed into stories within a story here-but the day-to-day anxiety of loners trying to connect with each other; despite the expository tone, Matas' re-creation of life on the run acquires some authentic urgency. Ad--Additional book of acceptable quality for collections needing more material in the area. Reviewed from galleys (c) Copyright 1996, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 1996, Simon, [128p], $16.00. Grades 6-9.
(PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York:), PUBLISHED: c1996.)

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Publication Details:

  Publisher ISBN Notes
New York N.Y.: Aladdin Paperbacks, 1997

Media Type: Language Material
133 p.:
PZ7.M423964 ([Fic])
0689807228
9780689807220
Orignally published New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers c1996.
New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1996

Media Type: Language Material
116 p.:
(jC813/.54)
0689803508
9780689803505
0689807228
9780689807220
Richmond Hill Ont.: Scholastic Canada, 1996

Media Type: Language Material
116 p.:
(jC813/.54)
0590247581
059012384X
9780590247580
9780590123846

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