My Childhood and the Second World War
Alona Frankel
Distribution: World
Publication date: 08/29/2016
ISBN: 978-0-253-02241-7
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Alona Frankel was just two years old when Germany invaded Poland. After a Polish carpenter agreed to hide her parents but not her, Alona's parents desperately handed her over to a greedy woman who agreed to hide her only as long as they continued to send money. Isolated from her parents and living among pigs, horses, mice, and lice, Alona taught herself to read and drew on scraps of paper. The woman would send these drawings to Alona’s parents as proof that Alona was still alive. In time, the money ran out and Alona was tossed into her parents’ hiding place, at this point barely recognizing them. After Poland’s liberation, Alona’s mother was admitted to a terminal hospital and Alona handed over to a wealthy, arrogant family of Jewish survivors who eventually cast her off to an orphanage. Despite these daily horrors and dangers surrounding her, Alona’s imagination could not be restrained. A powerful testament to the resilience of the human spirit,Girlis the story of a young girl’s self-preservation through a horrible war and its aftermath. Faithful to the perspective of the heroine herself, Frankel, now a world renowned children’s author and illustrator, reveals a little girl full of life in a terrible, evil world.

Author Bio

Alona Frankel was born in Krakow, Poland, in June of 1937. After surviving World War II, she immigrated to Israel in 1949. Alona has written and illustrated over 50 children's books, including the international best seller Once Upon a Potty. Her books have won numerous prizes, including several Parents’ Choice awards.


“An extraordinary voice and view of a hidden-child in Poland during the Holocaust and of her daring return to life afterward.”
 — Berel Lang, author of Primo Levi: The Matter of a Life

“A wonderful contribution to the canon of Holocaust literature—the story of a hidden child that is told with indelible images and tender words.”
 — Thane Rosenbaum, author of The Stranger Within Sarah Stein and The Golems of Gotham

“A new Anne Frank...What a tribute to the human spirit that a little girl, subjected to the utmost cruelties, and forced to be aware of the frailty of her existence, should have survived to become a talented writer and illustrator, her imagination, artistic spirit and eloquence speaking to the whole world about lessons we must never forget.”
 — Baroness Ruth Deech, DBE, House of Lords

“Alona Frankel’s Girl has enthralled me from its very first pages. What a rare experience! My own survival of the Holocaust (I was a young boy, a little older than Alona) inevitably, turned me into a hypersensitive reader. Books that 'feel wrong,' trite or inconsequential, books that indulge in any form of sentimentalism, of self-pity or moralizing—put me off. On the other hand, Frankel swept me away. I found her writing astonishingly musical, imaginative, visual and poetic, always powerful. And her pages of heartbreaking tragedies, or stories of human resilience, contain a sense of sad irony, which distances her from the gentleness of Anne Frank’s diary, but brings her much closer to the planets of Primo Levi or Marcel Proust. Girl is a timeless signpost in the canon of great literature.”
 — Samuel Bak, Painter and author of Painted in Words

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