Synopses & Reviews
A searing Holocaust novel based on a true story.
Twelve-year-old Eva and her sister have been forced to leave their home in Poland and are imprisoned in a Nazi labor camp. There they must spin thread on treacherous machinery to make clothing and blankets for the German Army. As Eva struggles amid ever worsening dangers to save her life and that of her sick sister, readers witness how two teenagers strive to create home and family amidst inhumanity and chaos. Written in exquisite prose, this story of heartbreak and hope that is rich in detail and symbolism will deeply move readers of all ages.
"The author of the uproarious tall tale Swamp Angel (1994) moves into a very different mode here in a grim Holocaust novel based on her mother-in-law's experience as a young teenage prisoner in a Nazi labor camp. The focus of Eva's story is always her bond with her fragile older sister, Rachel. They protect, even overprotect, each other, first in the Polish ghetto, and then for two years as prisoners in a Nazi labor camp in Czechoslovakia, where every day, every hour, is a struggle with hunger, disease, cold, and hard labor. Isaacs tells it without exploitation or sentimentality. She shows that there are Poles, and even some Jews, who help the Nazis and that many ordinary people are afraid to do anything or are just "uninterested." There is even one German camp officer who secretly does what he can to help the prisoners. The genocide horror is distanced because this is not a death camp, though Eva witnesses heartrending scenes of prisoners being marched to Auschwitz. Tension builds as the sisters, starving, sick, surrounded by filth, and checking each other's hair for lice, try to stay alive in the last months, one hour at time, until the Allies liberate the camp. As with the brother and sister in Anita Lobel's No Pretty Pictures (Booklist's 1998 Top of the List winner for Youth Nonfiction) and in Schoschana Rabinovici's Thanks to My Mother (the 1998 Batchelder Award winner), family love is a fact of survival". Booklist
About the Author
Anne Isaacs was born in Buffalo, New York, where she lived until she left for college. As a child, Anne read constantly, selecting books such as Wind in the Willows and Romeo and Juliet. Her favorite book was Little Women, and she grew up to have a life much like the heroine Jo; maintaining a career as an educator, a mother, and a children's book writer.
In 1967 Anne left Buffalo for the University of Michigan where she received degrees in English Literature and Environmental Education. Today she lives in the San Francisco Bay area.
Published in 2006, Pancakes for Supper, is loosely based on the plot of Helen Bannerman's classic story, Little Black Sambo.” But in writing Pancakes for Supper, Anne Isaacs decided to create the first completely American retelling of this beloved story. The characters in Pancakes for Supper, including five animals, are indigenous to New England in the early half of the 19th century. The main character, a spunky new heroine named Toby, has what it takes to stand up to a ferocious wolf, cougar, bear, skunk, and porcupine. The clarified butter, or ghee, of the original tale becomes, in Pancakes for Supper, fresh-tapped maple syrup from the Vermont trees that still supply America with the most famous of pancake toppings.