cover image The Safest Lie

The Safest Lie

Angela Cerrito. Holiday House, $16.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-8234-3310-0

Frail Anna Bauman, a Jewish girl starving to death in the Warsaw ghetto, must take on a new identity and abandon her parents to survive WWII. As Anna Korwolska, she is smuggled to a Catholic orphanage and eventually adopted by a Polish family with their own secrets, before political changes threaten to uproot her again. Told from Anna's perspective, this harrowing tale of secrets and survival has a childlike cadence, with poignantly simple observations amid life-altering decisions. At just nine years old, Anna struggles to comprehend the exhausting ramifications of pretending to be someone she is not; her plight takes on an added aspect of self-awareness with the discovery of two homeless Jewish children in hiding, forcing her to choose between forsaking her mother's orders and helping those so much like herself. Cerrito (The End of the Line) delivers a compassionate introduction to the atrocities of the Holocaust that pays homage to some of the real heroes, particularly social worker Irena Sendler, who risked their lives to save the young. Ages 8%E2%80%9312. Agent: Caitlin Blasdell, Liza Dawson Associates. (Oct.)