Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

I have read many stories of people who survived great hardship during World War II, but I had never heard about the forced removal of Lithuanian people perpetrated by the Russians. This is the story of a girl named Lina who is taken during the night with her mother and brother and put on a train bound for Siberia. Lina is an artist, and keeps hope alive by secretly drawing and making efforts to send messages to her father, whom she believes is in a Russian prison. Lina and her mother and brother survive the train ride, only to be left in a remote village where they must do hard labor while they nearly starve to death. From there they are sent to an even more remote Arctic location where they live for many years even after the war has ended. The author brings to life many peripheral characters that you as a reader come to know and care about. The writing is beautiful and the story is heartbreaking and gripping. A movie is coming out in mid-2017, so now is the perfect time to encourage students to read this book. Recommended for middle school-up.

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