The Safest Lie

The Safest Lie 

Release date: July 10, 2015
Audience: Ages 8 and up 
Pages: 192

"The truth has many faces."

The Story 
(From Goodreads

In 1940, nine-year-old Anna Bauman and her parents are among 300,000 Polish Jews struggling to survive the wretched conditions in the Warsaw ghetto. Anna draws the attention of Jolanta—the code name for the real-life Resistance spy Irena Sendler, who smuggled hundreds of children out of the ghetto. Jolanta wants to help Anna escape. Anna's mother drills her day and night, teaching her a new identity, that of Roman Catholic Anna Karwolska. Soon Anna is whisked out of Warsaw to a Catholic orphanage and then to a foster family where she must hide and hope that her family survives the war. 


 I haven't read too much on the subject of smuggling Jews out of Ghettos. I think that the author touches on a different subject matter for this genre in middle grade, and that is what makes this book special. You can tell as a reader that the author did a great deal of research to write this book, and I really appreciated it. I especially appreciated that she touched on how many Jewish kids lost their identity in the war. To me, this is a great opportunity for discussion. 

For my older tweens, I think this will have some appeal due to the curriculum on WWII. 

I always get asked for books like The Diary of a Young Girl  I think this might be a great fictional read alike book that might interest my kids & the character's name is even Anna! Or it might even be a great book for those younger siblings that want to learn about the Holocaust with their older siblings. 


I don't usually weigh cover appeal in my reader's advisory, but I feel like this one will  impact its appeal. I am afraid that if I try to get one of my kids to read this book, they will be turned off by the cover (I know I was). I wish this book had more of a cover appeal to draw in more readers to its beautiful story.  

I also think  that the author should have included an epilogue. I became invested in the character Anna, and I wanted to make sure she was okay. With the conclusion of the War, I felt like this book ended suddenly.  I suppose the author could have ended it this way to show the uncertainty that the real survivors felt, but I wish I knew more!

Overall, I felt like it was an interesting read.  I finished it in one setting. I was drawn into Anna's tale, and I became really interested in the history of Irena Sendler. I have not heard of this individual before. After I got done reading this story, I found myself looking up information about her. 

Here are some of the most interesting resources I found: 

Facts about Irena

Irena Sendler: In the Name of Their Mothers - this is a documentary done by PBS. I would highly recommend it for more information.

Irena Sendler Obituary

For more information, check out these non-fiction books for kids:

I hope you will find her story as interesting as I did.


No comments