Thank you, NetGalley, for the opportunity to read and to review this work.
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It is odd that in all my reading of stories relating to WWII and the Holocaust, I was somehow unaware of the many Jews who, when they sought refuge from the Nazis in the 1930s, moved to Shanghai. Indeed more than 20,000 did so. It was during this time—1938 to be precise—that Lily’s family made their move to the city. At the time, Lily “marveled at how nice [her mother] looked, as if she was planning a dinner party and not an escape from their home.” In any case, Lily, along with her parents, her Oma, and some extended family, journeyed for weeks to arrive at one of the few places that at the time would offer safety to the Jews.
Sometime later, after Japan attached Pearl Harbor, the Japanese Imperial Army occupied Shanghai, and the U.S. entered the war, the lives of the Jews in Shanghai changed drastically. In a manner similar to the ghettos that many Jews had sought to escape from in Europe, those in Shanghai were also left with little space, food, medication, or other life necessities.
Lily’s story is recommended for middle graders readers, despite the hardships and violence of which the author tells—and it is an important story, particularly given that much of the physical evidence of Jewish life in Shanghai during that period has already disappeared.