By Meg Waviott
New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2015.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Grades: 6 and Up
Is the story of two girls, Fania and Zlatka both from Poland and both Jews. Although they did not know one another and they came from different ghettos they became family for each other when their own families were murdered at the hands of Hitler and the Nazi regime.
Fania and Zlatka met while at Auschwitz Concentration Camp, a notorious “work camp” where a million Jewish people died. The story is written in verse, so it reads like a diary—a diary that unveils the horrors of daily life among a group of twenty resilient, courageous and defiant young women. The paper heart was a “birthday gift” given to Fania as an act of total defiance by the women who lived and worked side by side. If any of them were caught while making it or if Fania would have been caught with it in her possession it would have meant certain death. The paper heart survived and is in a Holocaust Museum in Canada.
This is a historical fiction book and the author note at the end of the book tells the reader the facts upon which this story is built and the fate of the twenty women who shared the darkest days in world history. It is a compelling read—don’t miss it!