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*I Will Come Back for You: A Family in Hiding During World War II* by Marisabina Russo - middle grades book review
Also by Marisabina Russo:

A Very Big Bunny

The Bunnies Are Not in Their Beds
I Will Come Back for You: A Family in Hiding During World War II
by Marisabina Russo
Ages 7-10 40 pages Schwartz and Wade September 2011 Hardcover    

Basing her narrative on the true story of her family’s experiences in World War II, Marisabina Russo has created a tribute to the persecuted Jews in Italy.

The story begins as a contemporary little girl sits down with her grandmother in the United States. She is admiring her grandmother’s cherished charm bracelet, which includes a donkey, a piano, bicycle, piglet, barn spinning wheel and boat. Nonna begins the story of her childhood in Italy.

Nonna’s Jewish family, including her mother, father and younger brother, enjoyed a comfortable life in Rome with puppet shows and donkey rides in the park. When the Italian government allied with the Nazis, everything changed. Each charm symbolizes an important event in her father’s deportation to the mountains, her mother’s escape, and the family’s reunion.

Russo’s multi-generational story illustrated with gouache artwork focuses the eye on the people but also provides a strong sense of setting in another time and place. The story is necessarily upsetting in parts—when her father is threatened, her mother forced to become sick, etc. Yet the strength and the endurance of the characters is an inspiration.

A companion book to Russo’s Always Remember Me: How One Family Survived World War II, this book not only tells the little-known story of Italian Jews but also depicts the kindness and generosity of people who risked their own lives to save others.

It is a good choice for young readers curious about the Holocaust but not yet old enough to handle the worst of the atrocities. The book concludes with family photographs and a glossary of unfamiliar terms. Highly recommended.
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