Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Take a Shelfie: Between Shades of Grey

Ruta Sepetys takes little nuggets of history and turns them into powerfully told, hard-to-forget novels.  

Fifteen year old Lina, her younger brother Jonas, and her parents live what she considers to be an ordinary life in Lithuania.  A talented artist, Lina has been accepted to an art school for the summer, and she can't wait to finish the school year and begin this next adventure.

And then Soviet soldiers break into her home and change her life forever.  Separated from her father, and sent to a work camp in Siberia with her mother and brother, Lina finds ways to draw pictures of events and hide them in unusual ways, passing them from one work camp survivor to another, hoping that they reach her father.

Written with an unflinchingly honest portrayal of life in cattle cars, in work camps, in Siberia, there is a beautiful humanity that emerges.  In the midst of tremendous anguish, there is hope.  People you thought were awful turn out to be kind.

Lina is courageous and she's determined to tell the story of the horrors and the hope.  So she draws on scraps of material she scrounges and hides, hoping that some day, her story will be known. 

This is a powerful novel for middle and high school readers, and explores an aspect of World War II that many of us are less familiar with.  

What are you reading with your students right now?
If you like, you can purchase the book through the link below.  You don't pay any extra for it but I earn a few pennies as an amazon affiliate.

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