Saturday, February 4, 2012

between gray skies by ruta sepetys

A bitterly sad historical novel about a largely overlooked event : the 1941 deportation and genocide of Lithuanians during Stalin's reign of terror. Fifteen year-old Lina's life path is forever altered when she, her mother, and younger brother Jonas are arrested in their home and sentenced to work to death in a Siberian labor camp. The opening scene is pure cinema as Lina's mother, given twenty minutes to prepare for their brutal journey, destroys the family china, smashing each piece on the floor, while terrified Lina forgets to change out of her nightgown as she scrambles to gather a few art supplies. When they arrive at the train station, their car is marked 'thieves and prostitutes,' and their horrific journey begins. Shelf this alongside The Diary of Anne Frank, and Adam Bagdasarian's Forgotten Fire for a study of genocide in the 20th century. Grade 7+