Just a Girl: A True Story of World War II

From History Book By Book
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Modern Age

Just a Girl: A True Story of World War II
Author: Levi, Lia
Buy at Amazon | BookShop.org

Time Period: Modern Age
Time Frame: 1938-1945
Geographic Area: Europe
Country: Italy
Topics: WWII, Jews in Hiding, Nazi Occupation
Genre: Non Fiction
Reading Age: Middle Grade
Format: Chapter Book
Published: 2022

World History > Modern Age > WWII

In this award-winning memoir translated from Italian to English, a Jewish girl grows up during a difficult time of racial discrimination and war, and discovers light in unexpected places. This classic, powerful story from Lia Levi is adapted for young readers, with beautiful black-and-white illustrations, a family photo album, and a powerful author’s note to readers.

1938, Italy. Six-year-old Lia loves to build sandcastles at the beach and her biggest problem is her shyness and quiet, birdlike voice—until prime minister Mussolini joins forces with Hitler in World War II, and everything changes.

Now there are laws saying Jewish children can’t go to school, Jews can’t work, or go on vacation. It’s difficult for Lia to understand why this is happening to her family. When her father loses his job, they must give up their home and move from city to city.

As war comes closer, it becomes too dangerous to stay together, and Lia and her sisters are sent to hide at a convent. Will she ever be “just a girl” again?

The memoir is full of poignant moments of friendship and loss, dreaded tests at school, told in Lia's captivating voice, as she grows into a young teen. Just a Girl is an important addition to the WWII Jewish canon.

Emily's Review

I was excited to read this because though I've read dozens upon dozens of books about the experiences of Jews during World War II, I don't think I'd ever read one set in Italy before. I'm so glad I was able to read this as an advanced copy so I can rave about it to everyone!

This story is a memoir of the author's experiences as a child in Italy during World War II, and it reads as if she is a grandmother telling you stories about her childhood. This is a perfect introduction to the experiences of Jews during World War II for very young children. I especially love the way she cuts into her story - sort of breaking the fourth wall - to make sure children understand what is happening and reassure them that she and her family will ultimately be ok. I think for a book geared at a younger audience, which this one is, that is the perfect way to tell this story.

Lia and her family were some of the lucky ones. They were able to avoid being deported to the camps because they found people to help them. But even so, they struggled and endured having to leave their home and be separated from each other for years.

It is so important that these stories are told and retold. We can't ever forget.

Other Similar Books

Other suggestions on the subject of World War II (European Front).