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*The Lily Pond* by Annika Thor, illustrated by Linda Schenck - middle grades book review
Also by Annika Thor:

A Faraway Island

Also illustrated by Linda Schenck:

A Faraway Island
The Lily Pond
by Annika Thor, illustrated by Linda Schenck
Ages 9+ 224 pages Delacorte October 2011 Hardcover    

A 2012 Batchhelder Award Honor Book, The Lily Pond is the second in a series of four by Annika Thor, translated from the Swedish.

Stephie, an Austrian Jewish refugee, has lived for the past year with a Pentecostal family on an island near Sweden. A very bright, academically oriented girl, Stephie has graduated from the island’s school and has earned a scholarship to continue her education on the mainland. Seeing this change as an opportunity to start fresh, Stephie embraces the challenge, makes new friends and seriously considers the romantic possibilities of Sven, the 19-year-old son of the couple with whom she is boarding.

A theme of the importance of family runs strong throughout The Lily Pond, as does the attitude of prejudice against Jews. Stephie’s best friend, May, comes from a large family living in a small apartment. Although they have little personal space, they have each other. In contrast, Stephie now lives an extremely comfortable life but is separated from her foster family and sister on the island and from her parents, who are still living under Nazi persecution in Austria.

American girls will connect with many of Stephie’s thoughts and feelings as she sometimes says the wrong thing, tells white lies to get the popular girls to like her, and struggles with making the right decisions. With relatively short chapters, each section is a slice of Stephie’s life, revealing her thoughts and feelings.

With a dramatic ending, The Lily Pond is a strong addition to any children’s historical fiction collection and will be especially popular with girls who have already read The Faraway Island.
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