Candlewick Press: The Red Ribbon by Lucy Adlington & We Are Here to Stay: Voices of Undocumented Young Adults by Susan Kuklin

The Red Ribbon by Lucy Adlington

Publication Date: September 11th, 2018

Rating: 5 Stars

The Red Ribbon tells the story of the Auschwitz experience, or Birchwood as it is translated to, from the lens of a young child.

The Red Ribbon is based on the actual dress shop within Auschwitz created by the Commander’s wife, for the purpose of using prisoners’ talents to create fashion for herself. Within this story, young heroine Ella becomes quick friends with Rose through their responsibilities at the Birchwood seamstress shop. They band together as they work to keep hope through the tortures and terrors they face at Birchwood. Ella finds a way to connect to a slice of home as she designs and executes dresses for the Birchwood guards and Commander’s wife. While Rose shows Ella compassion, friendship and the importance of storytelling.

As a self-prescribed WWII historical fiction lover, I can say I’ve NEVER read a WWII novel quiet like this. Like, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, this novel is told from the point of view of the children. The sadness and heart wrenching horrors of the Nazi’s are present in the innocent, child eyes of those who refuse to lose HOPE. I don’t know of a better young adult concentration camp read. Five bold, bright, perfect stars to this read.

*Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Candlewick Press, in exchange for an honest review.


We Are Here to Stay: Voices of Undocumented Young Adults by Susan Kuklin

Publication Date: January 8th, 2019

Rating: 4 Stars

The American Dream is worth fighting for! The empathy within this book provides serves as a call to action.

Author, Susan Kuklin began this book several years ago as she collected stories and more importantly photos of immigrants that arrived or remained illegally in the United States. As this book approached its publication date, and the current United States President began rolling back immigrant protections, Kuklin was forced to pull the photos and change names for privacy and protection of those brave enough to share their story. This story is an unwilling testament to the effects the cancelling of The Dreamer’s Act is having. By cancelling The Dreamer’s Act, we have forced many strong, resilient immigrants back into the shadows.

The strength it took for HUMANS to participate in this book is overshadowed by the author’s need to retract identifying information of these undocumented persons. Their own safety, despite residing and CONTRIBUTING to a first world country (The U.S. of A), is at risk during this current Administration. There are still too many things immigrant CAN’T do, but the potential to achieve keeps driving them as is evidenced time and time again within these pages.

*Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Candlewick Press, in exchange for an honest review.

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