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Reviewed by:
  • The Safest Lie by Angela Cerrito
  • Amy Atkinson
Cerrito, Angela The Safest Lie. Holiday House, 2015 180p
ISBN 978-0-8234-3310-0 $16.95 R Gr. 3-5

One day she is Anna Bauman, a Jewish nine-year-old living in the Warsaw ghetto with her parents, subsisting on smuggled morsels of food and memories of life before the Nazi invasion. The next she is Anna Karwolska, Catholic orphan, an identity given to her by the resistance fighters who smuggle her to an orphanage and eventually to a family. Though she tries to be one Anna during the day and [End Page 246] the other at night in her head, the same journey that ultimately saves her life also takes her farther and farther from her Jewish roots. Anna, brave and serious, makes a compelling heroine; her narration shows her sadness, confusion, and fear in a way that reveals her strength of character. Her narration gives voice to an important element of the Holocaust, when parents surrendered their children to strangers in hopes that it might save the children’s lives. Full of feeling and insight, as well as fascinating detail, this novel is as much about the loss of identity as the loss of life. Give this to those history buffs ready for a powerful story less commonly told.