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When the World Was Ours

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When The World Was Ours is an exceptionally powerful book based on Liz's family's extraordinary escape from Nazi occupied countries . . . a book I hope will be read and discussed by children everywhere -- Francesca Simon Because a picture paints a thousand words,” I replied, pretending to yawn. Papa said the same thing every time he took a photo.

Papa looked at us through the camera’s lens. “Perfect,” he said. “We have to get the picture just right. And you know why that is?” he asked. We cheered, loud enough to make Papa cover his ears as he laughed. Then he turned to the couple next to him. “Come around again,” he said, drawing a big circle in the air with his hand. “My treat. To apologize.” We follow Max, Elsa, and Leo, from their favorite memory together, straight through their teen years/WWII. Elsa and Leo are Jewish, and as such, obviously in great peril during the war. Max, on the other hand, has a father who is not only unsympathetic toward his friends, he's a straight up Nazi. The book does an unbelievably great job of illustrating how frighteningly fast and unfortunately, easy, it is for some people to end up on the wrong side. Papa was beside me in a second. “I’m so sorry,” he said to the couple. Then he looked down at me. “Leo, apologize to the lady.” Welcome to the Taller Books blog. Please take a moment to read our community rules before you post a comment.

Liz Kessler Press Reviews

Powerful, heartbreaking, thought-provoking and timely. This story of three friends will be etched in my mind for a very long time. What an incredible novel -- Emma Perry Told through their alternating perspectives, we start to see the fracturing of their idyllic childhood. Living at a time when fascism is on the rise, we know things are going to get tense. When we learn that Elsa and Leo are Jewish, we sense the personal conflict to come. Once we learn that Max’s father is becoming a much respected member of the Nazi party we get an inkling of how this might go. Sachertorte!” I replied without hesitating. Mama made the best Sachertorte in Vienna. She had a secret recipe, passed down from Omama, my grandma.

The most powerful book about the Holocaust I've ever read . . . it is an utterly stunning, and important, read. I'll be thinking about this one for a long time, and would urge everyone to read it -- Kerry Drewery The most powerful book about the Holocaust I've ever read . . . it is an utterly stunning, and important, read. I'll be thinking about this one for a long time, and would urge everyone to read it' Kerry Drewery When my parents had asked me last week what I wanted to do for my birthday, there was no contest. I wanted to ride on Vienna’s Ferris wheel: the Riesenrad. We had lived in Vienna almost my whole life but I’d never been on it. Whenever I asked, Mama would always say I was too young and that I’d be afraid to be so high up. But I wasn’t scared at all. I think Mama was afraid herself, really, which is why she decided she wouldn’t come with us. Look at the tiny people!’ Max exclaimed, pointing down below us as we rose higher and higher into the sky. A pivotal event takes place at the beginning of the story when, for Leo’s ninth birthday, his father treats the three friends to an outing. The day’s highlight is a Ferris wheel ride featuring large enclosed cars in which the riders can move about.Our story opens in Vienna, Austria in 1936 and it is Leo's 9th birthday and he and his 2 best friends, Max and Elsa, are riding the Ferris wheel in the town's center and then headed home to enjoy Leo's mom's famous Sachertorte. While riding the Riesenrad, Leo's father takes a photo of the 3 children, and it's a moment burned into each of their collective memories through the horrors of the next several years to come and the harrowing twists and turns their stories, lives, and friendship takes. Three Friends. Two sides. One memory. LEO must rely on the kindness of strangers to escape the rising threat to the Jewish people. ELSA, like Leo, is hated for simply being who she is. To be safe, she must run. MAX. As his father rises up the Nazi ranks, he suddenly finds that he is the danger his friends are trying so desperately to escape. You might also like... When The World Was Ours is the most wonderful, terrible, powerful, important book I have read in years and years. It is so good, so real, so unflinching -- Cathy Cassidy President Joe Biden on Friday denounced a recent increase in antisemitic incidents in a statement, calling them ‘despicable, unconscionable, un-American.’

In 1937 the strained friendship is severed when, fearing the cruelty of the Nazis, Elsa’s family moves to Czechoslovakia. This book will pull at your heartstrings. Hell, it'll rip them right in half. But it's also hopeful, even while it's crushing your soul. There's hope that there are good people, that good can sometimes win, even if it doesn't always. And please, do yourselves a favor, and read the author's note. It's gorgeous, just like the book. This is a story about three children in a fairground in 1936 and how their lives progressed from that moment throughout the events of the Second World War. I will say no more than that because I think this is a book that everyone should read at least once in their life. However, be warned, it is not all lighthearted, as a story about the Holocaust could and should never be.Kessler schrijft het verhaal zodanig dat de emoties van het blad spatten. Een voorbeeld hiervan is: Hij hield zichzelf voor wat hij ook maar wilde horen, ook al wist hij diep in zijn hart dat het allemaal gelogen was. Ze slaagt erin met één zin de emotionele toestand van het personage te schetsen. De achtergrond waarop alles gebeurt wordt ook mooi omschreven . Bv Een bruine sjaal die zo harig is dat ik eerst dacht dat hij leefde. Zonder al teveel in detail te treden over de gruwelen in een concentratiekamp slaagt ze er toch in om de ernst van de situatie te laten doordringen. Each of the children has a very different war-time experience. Leo manages to flee to England with his mother, desperate for news of his father who was sent to Dachau. Elsa remains with her family through many of the indignities bestowed on her simply because of her faith, but she is separated from them when they are taken to Auschwitz. Max has always been desperate for his father’s approval, and his need to belong and gain admiration makes him susceptible to the indoctrination of the Nazi party. As his father rises in power, Max follows. He too ends up in Auschwitz. As it contains strong themes and distressing scenes, this moving and well written and researched book about the holocaust is only suitable for readers 12+. Drawing on Kessler’s own family history, it’s a brilliant and yet haunting read; essential for young readers who must, like all of us, never forget. Papa lowered his camera and frowned. “Not there,” he said. “The sun is right behind you. You’ll be nothing but shadows. Come here.” He waved a hand toward the door at the far end of the carriage. “Stand against this so the bright sky is in front of you.”

Max leaned his forehead against the window. ‘I feel like the king of Vienna,’ he said. The glass fogged up as he spoke. As a child, I had a friend whose mother had numbers tattooed on her arm. Over the years, I had other friends who’d lost relatives in the Holocaust. And I once had a girlfriend whose dad, as a child, had been active in the Hitler Youth movement. These days, I have a connection to a nonagenarian who, as a teenager, jumped from a death camp-bound cattle car, escaping as the Nazi guards shot at her with rifles.

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When The World Was Ours is Liz's masterpiece . . . an instant classic' Anthony McGowan, winner of the 2020 CILIP Carnegie Medal Seeing Max being raised as a Nazi broke my heart, I hated seeing his father force an innocent child from a young age to have these preposterous mentalities, but I guess this was the harsh reality of the time. Inspired by true events in Liz Kessler's family history, this is a heartbreaking and honest portrayal of the Holocaust for younger readers, but handled with such compassion and tenderness. He reached out toward us, and all three of us squealed as we tried to run from his clutches. At that exact moment, the Ferris wheel started moving again and the carriage jolted. I fell forward and tripped over a lady’s outstretched foot. The man next to her grabbed hold of me just before I landed in his lap.

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