Sarah's Stars

Carol Matas. Daniel's Story
Scholastic  $6.99  ISBN 0-590-46588-0 136 pg.
Reviewed by Meghan, Age 14

"What has happened to me? I feel just like I did when I was around ten years old and I got hit by a soccer ball right between the eyes and I wandered around the field disoriented, not knowing who I was, where I was, where I should be going. I feel like that now--stunned and confused. Who am I? Where am I going? This much I know. My name is Daniel. I am fourteen. And I am Jewish. I am on a train with my mother, father, sister and what looks like over a thousand other Jews from Frankfurt. We do not have any idea where we are going, only that the Germans no longer want Jews in Germany. My country. Generations of our family have lived here going back a thousand years, but it looks as if we will be the last."

Daniel is a regular teenage boy, he has friends, he is the class clown, and he has a loving family. And then comes a man named Adolf Hitler, and the Nazis. Suddenly, the world is no longer safe. Daniel is Jewish, and the Germans have decided they no longer want the Jews. Daniel's father runs a hardware store. It is boycotted, and then destroyed on Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass). Daniel cannot go to school anymore, he cannot leave the house. His favourite uncle is arrest, never to return. One by one, the horrors unfold and Daniel's life becomes a nightmare. But through it all, he remains hopeful for peace, for freedom, and for the end of the war.

The story is told through pictures, real ones, and the ones inside Daniel's mind - pictures of hopes and dreams, pictures of horror and brutality, pictures of loss. Through the pictures, and Daniel's narrative, we come to understand more about the Holocaust, and what life was like for a teenage boy. You'll cry as you read it, at the bravery of Daniel and his friends, and the cruelty of the Nazis and at the torment that the Jews had to face.

Daniel's Story was a mandatory read in my grade eight English class. I was usually bored in English; being a voracious reader and nine times out of ten having already read the books we covered. But, I had never read Daniel's Story before, and I looked at it with curiosity when it was handed around. After the first five pages, I was hooked. It took me around an hour to finish Daniel's Story. When I was done, I felt a lot closer to all those people who had suffered during the Holocaust. Daniel's Story is a wonderful book, and I believe everyone should read it. I would recommend it for teenagers, thirteen and up. It probably wouldn't hurt adults to read it, too.

I would give Daniel's Story five stars out of five.


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