Anne Frank, her parents, sister, another family, and an older gentleman were Jews in the Netherlands during the German occupation of World War II. These eight people hid in a secret alcove above a factory. Anne had a friend who listened to all her thoughts during the next two years. “Kitty” was her diary.
The Franks had lived in Germany. As the anti-Semitism sentiment took hold in that country, he and his wife left everything and moved their daughters to the Netherlands. In a few years they were not safe there, either. Finally, after Mr. Frank was called to report to the Germans, they went into hiding in the “Secret Annexe”. The Von Daan family joined them since the two men were business partners, and later, they included a dentist, Mr. Deusel.
Anne’s parents gave her Kitty on her birthday in 1942. Anne started writing in it very quickly, and took Kitty very seriously. They still were out in their home at the time, and the first group of entries deal with Anne’s private thoughts over school and her social life. The boys who were in love with her were discussed and described, as well as her reactions. Soon after her birthday, though, the family went into hiding. They stayed in the “Secret Annexe” over two years before they were found and arrested by the Germans. Of the eight residents, only Mr. Frank survived the concentration camps.
Li Cunxin grew up in a remote commune village in China. His life was one of daily hardships – there was never enough food for him or his six brothers and his only entertainment, especially during the harsh winters, was being told Chinese fables by his father. His life seemed mapped out – he was “the frog at the bottom of the well” who would have to be content with being able to see only a small patch of sky. Then in 1971, at the age of 10, Li was chosen to train as a ballet dancer at Madam Mao’s Peking Dance Academy. His selection was based purely on his physique and the fact that he came from a family that had been peasants for three generations – he knew nothing about the art form at all. After seven gruelling years of training, with grim determination and the encouragement of his teachers, Li danced through his pain to become a talented performer who won a rare scholarship to America. It was this experience that lead Li, a fervent follower of Mao and Chinese Communist ideals, to discover the truth behind Chinese propaganda. In 1981 he famously defected, certain that in doing so he would never see his family or his homeland again. Through dance, a poor Chinese peasant child found a new life in America – the frog had escaped the well and could marvel at the expanse of sky.
Lale Sokolov is well-dressed, a charmer, a ladies’ man. He is also a Jew. On the first transport from Slovakia to Auschwitz in 1942, Lale immediately stands out to his fellow prisoners. In the camp, he is looked up to, looked out for, and put to work in the privileged position of tätowierer – the tattooist – to mark his fellow prisoners, forever. One of them is a young woman, Gita, who steals his heart at first glance.
His life given new purpose, Lale does his best through the struggle and suffering to use his position for good.
This story, full of beauty and hope, is based on years of interviews author Heather Morris conducted with real-life Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz- Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov. It is heart-wrenching, illuminating, and unforgettable.
In Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel’s memoir Night, a scholarly, pious teenager is wracked with guilt at having survived the horror of the Holocaust and the genocidal campaign that consumed his family. His memories of the nightmare world of the death camps present him with an intolerable question: how can the God in whom he once so fervently believed have allowed these monstrous events to occur? There are no easy answers in this harrowing book, which probes life’s essential riddles with the lucid anguish only great literature achieves. It marks the crucial first step in Wiesel’s lifelong project to bear witness for those who died.
They say Bethany Hamilton has saltwater in her veins. How else could one explain the tremendous passion that drives her to surf? How else could one explain that nothing — not even the loss of her arm in a horrific shark attack — could come between her and the waves?
That Halloween morning in Kauai, Hawaii – a glorious part of the world, where it’s hard to deny the divine – Bethany responded to the shark’s stealth attack with the calm of a girl with God on her side. Pushing pain and panic aside, she immediately began to paddle with one arm, focusing on a single thought: “Get to the beach….” Rushed to the hospital, where her father, Tom Hamilton, was about to undergo knee surgery, Bethany found herself taking his spot in the O.R. It’s the kind of coincidence that isn’t mere coincidence to the Hamilton family, a clan whose motto could easily be “the family that surfs and prays together stays together.” To them it was a sign someone had a greater plan than the one they’d been working on themselves – which had been to scrape together whatever resources they could to help Bethany rise to the top of her sport. When the first thing Bethany wanted to know after surgery was “When can I surf again?” it became clear that her unfaltering spirit and determination were part of a greater story – a tale of courage and faith that this modest and soft-spoken girl would come to share with the world.
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is a children’s book packed with 100 bedtime stories about the lives of 100 extraordinary women from the past and the present, illustrated by 60 female artists from all over the world. This book inspires girls with the stories of great women, from Elizabeth I to Serena Williams.
With over 600 pages and heaps of cartoons, Girl Stuff has everything girls need to know about: friends, body changes, shopping, clothes, make-up, pimples (arrghh), sizes, hair, earning money, guys, embarrassment, what to eat, moods, smoking, why diets suck, handling love and heartbreak, exercise, school stress, sex, beating bullies and mean girls, drugs, drinking, how to find new friends, cheering up, how to get on with your family, and confidence.
Each chapter includes facts, hints, inspiring lists, hundreds of quotes from real girls, and details for over 350 websites, books and other information. Written in extensive consultation with more than 70 medical, and practical experts, Girl Stuff provides the most up-to-date and useful information possible.
Kaz Cooke’s Website