Published by Scholastic Canada on 2013-10-01
An unforgettable reminder of the resilience of human compassion, even in the face of the worst horrors of our history.
In the autumn of 1940, Anna Hirsch and her friends and family are rounded up by Nazis and deported to Gurs, a refugee camp in the south of France. Food is scarce, and the living conditions inhumane. Even worse is the ever-present fear that they will be relocated once again -- this time to one of the death camps.
But when word comes that Anna and the other children are to be moved, their destination is not Auschwitz or Buchenwald, but Le Chambon-sur-Lignon: a tiny village whose citizens have agreed to care for deported Jewish children.
Based on the true story of a French village that banded together to protect the Jews during WWII, this unforgettable tale honours the contagious goodness that permeated one corner of a region otherwise enveloped in evil, and celebrates the courage of all those who put their lives at risk to save others.
Shortly after going back to school from March break (in March) Michael came home to tell me that he (being in a grade 5/6 split class) was going to have to a Holocaust project with the grade 6ers and that he would have to do this project again in grade 6.
I honestly have to say that I am not very pleased with the teachers he has and the school for not giving the parents a heads up that this was going to happen with the grade 5s. That Monday back she started to read this book and honestly Michael was a little upset about the whole thing.
If you know Michael in real life you will know that he is a sensitive child as he takes things to heart. For him to discover this in the way she was teaching it, it was a shock. She did not sugar coat anything and she provided all kinds of information to the kids. Needless to say I wasn’t happy about it.
He then proceeded to tell me that on top of this book being read in class that they were going to have to read a book on their own and if he didn’t have one by the middle of the week she was going to assign one. Which I have to say really upset me because we had no list of suggested books and the ones she was suggesting in class Michael got confused because she was saying this one was good for grade 5 and this was good for grade 6 etc.
I sent a note telling her I needed the age appropriate and school board approved list and no book was to be assigned. Needless to say we were able to pick one and that review will be coming up later on the blog.
Enough of my rambling here is my review of Greater Than Angels.
Michael told me that the teacher was reading this in class and when I looked it up online its listed for grades 6 to 8 so I quickly bought it for my ereader because if there was going to be any issues I wanted to confront the teacher with it because she seems to forget that there is 9/10 years old in that class. I have to say I worried when I saw that grade level because thats an age group of 11 to 14 years old.
Greater Than Angels is a fiction book but its based on a true story of a little French village named Le Chambon that took it upon themselves to help, protect and hide Jewish children from the Nazi’s.
The main character, Anna is fifteen years old when the Nazi’s come to round up the Jewish people. She is taken with her mother and grandmother. The males and females have been separated and they all presume the worst.
They are taken to Vichy, France to a concentration camp. Anna is shocked at what she sees, there is no food, no running water, no bathrooms, no beds just a limited amount of straw and due to the rain its cold. muddy and damp. Everyone is hungary and cold. Sadly its in this camp that Anna’s grandmother dies.
A year of living like this the Swiss Red Cross has offered all the children an opportunity to live in a home by them. The mothers quickly give their children over because they hope they will have a better life then what they have now. This is where the generousity of Le Chambon sur Lignon comes into the story.
Things at Le Chambon are looking up for the kids. They are all healthy, happy and warm. They are allowed to attend school and live a pretty normal life or one that can be expected considering the circumstances.
The war is still continuing and its not looking good. Anna receives news that the camp her mother is at is being sent East so Anna is given permission to go and see her mother and its at this point you know this will be the last time Anna gets to see her.
Eventually things become to dangerous in Le Chambon and the child are forced to run and hide. Will Anna be able to make it or will she get caught?