Saturday, July 13, 2019

Searching for Lottie

Ross, Susan L. Searching for Lottie
February 26th 2019 by Holiday House
Public library copy

Charlie has a school project to tell a family story, and she choses her namesake-- another girl named Charlotte who also played the violin. Her grandmother's since, known as Lottie, was getting impressive feedback for her playing but was caught up in WWII. She relocated to Hungary, but was never heard from after the war. Considering how many people in her family Charlie's Grandma Rose lost, it never surprised her that Lottie was also gone. As Charlie begins her project, however, she starts to get indications that Lottie might have survived the Holocaust. With the help from a friend's grandmother who can read the old fashioned German script in Lottie's diary, Charlie manages to hunt down a cousin who settled in the states. He has some information, and an unlikely translator helps Charlie with some essential information. Even in 2010, when the book is set, the war was a long time ago. Grandma Rose doesn't get to see her sister, but she does get more information about her fate.
Strengths: I really like this author's style of writing, and her Kiki and Jacques does very well in my library. The fact that the story is based on her own family's history makes this even more interesting. The connection between the generations (the violin playing) will resonate with readers who want to know more about their own families or are interested in music. There are just enough coincidences to make this fun and not make us suspend disbelief.
Weaknesses: More of the book is spent in the modern day, and I could have used more details about Lottie's experiences during the war.
What I really think: This is an excellent introduction to the Holocaust and the treatment of Jews during that time, and younger readers will be inspired to learn more after reading this. However, I need books that are much more descriptive of the events of the Holocaust for my 8th graders who do an in depth unit on it in Language Arts classes.

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