LUBA: The Angel of Bergen-Belsen

Michelle Roehm McCann, As Told to, Luba Tryszynka-Frederick, As Told by, Ann Marshall, Illustrator , as told to Michelle R. McCann, illus. by Ann Marshall. Tricycle $16.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-58246-098-7

A Holocaust heroine emerges in Tryszynska-Frederick's account of being a prisoner at Bergen-Belsen, which McCann judiciously relays in the third person. A Polish Jew, Luba had endured two years in Auschwitz, where her infant son had been taken from her upon arrival; believing that Luba was a nurse, the Nazis sent her to Bergen-Belsen in the winter of 1944 to look after their wounded. She hears the sounds of crying on her first night there, and discovers 54 Dutch babies and children in a field, left to freeze to death. Determined to save them, she obtains food and clothing for them and, just as amazingly, persuades innumerable adults to keep their presence a secret. When the British liberated the camp, 52 of the children were still alive.

McCann's presentation emphasizes the miraculousness of the children's survival as opposed to the notorious conditions of the camp. Marshall, a debut artist, offers oil and collage illustrations that show what appears to be a carefully crafted view of Bergen-Belsen: no immediate acts of brutality are depicted, and other hardships are downplayed. More of a context may be needed for the message to resound in its fullness, but this is a welcome story of hope. Ages 8-up. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 12/22/2003
Release date: 10/01/2003
Genre: Children's
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