Sarah's Stars

Kathy Kacer. The Underground Reporters
Second Story Press  $15.95  ISBN 1-896764-85-1  154 pg.

Reviewed by
Veronica, Age 12

In the barracks, the bunk beds were piled three high, to enable forty boys to sleep in the crowded room. It was dirty and difficult to keep the bugs and rodents away. Soap was a treasure, hoarded for the rare times the boys had the opportunity to wash in cold water. With no hot water for washing, lice bred in the boysí clothing, hiding in the seams, biting them and spreading disease. Prisoners became ill on a daily basis.

The Jewish children of Budejovice, Czechoslovakia, were happy. Suddenly, everything changed for the worse. Jewish people werenít allowed to be out at certain times, couldnít go into certain stores, and most of them werenít allowed to work at there original jobs if they had one. The kids were desperate to find a place where they could safely meet and play together. Despite them being Jewish, the Naziís allowed them to use a volunteer farmerís unused riverside field as a playground.  There, a newspaper called Klepy was created by the kids and would be secretly circulated through the whole Jewish community of Budejovice almost every month. After many editions, even the playground was shut down. Then, Jewish citizens started being sent off to terrible destinations.

The Underground Reporters was a great read, and itís true! I like the pictures that are smattered throughout the pages. They really help the places and characters come to life. Also, at the back are some pictures of two of the characters taken recently, John Freund and his Christian friend from childhood, Zdenek Svec. The author, Kathy Kacer, has written many children's books including The Secret of Gabi's Dresser, Clara's War and The Night Spies. She is a Canadian author and lives in Toronto with her loving family. I suggest The Underground Reporters be read by people ages 10 and up. Overall, a great true-story novel, so I give it 4 out of 5 stars.


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