Sarah's Stars

Lillian Boraks-Nemetz & Irene N. Watts.
Tapestry of Hope
Tundra  $24.99  ISBN 0-88776-638-2  229 pg.
Reviewed by Meghan, Age 14

During my second year, I picked up a new book called The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. -- When I turned the last page and found out that she never did escape, that all her worst fears came true in scenes of brutality and terror beyond my imagining, I fell apart and wept for hours. -- Mother had comforted me as a child by repeating, over and over, 'Jean, it's only a story. Everything will be all right in the end'. But what happened to Anne Frank was not just a story. It was a darkness with no stars. Everything went tragically wrong in the end. And this had been brought about by human beings like me. The Nazis who broke in on her hiding place had begun life as tiny babies, had taken their first steps, had been rocked to sleep like me. What had turned them into monsters who could use people so cruelly? What had twisted their humanity out of shape?
(From I sat in Loews Theatre staring at the Movie Screen by Jean Little)

Tapestry of Hope is a collection of stories written by many highly acclaimed authors. With poems, excerpts and survivor statements, Irene N. Watts and Lillian Boraks-Nemetz gather information and paint us a general picture of the Holocaust, and the average lives of those who endured it. The book itself has nine sections, the main parts of the Holocaust: Hiding, Loss and Exile, Selection, Ghetto, In Flames, The Camps, Resistance, Identity-Family Secrets and The Holocaust and After. With excerpts and short stories we are taken back in time to relive the lives of children and teens.

Tapestry is one of the lighter Holocaust collections. Although it still tells of the horror and atrocity of the death camps and ghettos, it dwells more on the hope and determination of the Jewish people. It tells how many were saved by brave men and women who risked their own lives to hid Jewish children. It even mentions the occasional kindness of a German soldier that made the difference in keeping a child alive. It tells us, as the name implies, of the hope, of the light that shines on despite the darkness.

For me, I enjoyed reading Tapestry much more than other Holocaust works I have read. I found the hope of the children and teens impacted me more than reading gruesome accounts. It hurt to think that some of these children, so joyful and carefree, had not survived and had died along side thousands of others. Seeing the Holocaust from the point of view of a person my age, or younger than me, I felt a bond with that person, like they were my sister or brother. I cannot imagine what I might have done in their place and I was so impressed and heartened by their courage and faith. I would recommend Tapestry of Hope for children and teens, ages 12 and up. I think that children younger than that may have a hard time understanding.

I would rate Tapestry of Hope five stars out of five.


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