a faraway island

In 1939, those European Jewish families who could sent their children to Sweden – a safe haven from the Nazi soldiers.  Twelve-year-old Stephie Steiner and her seven-year-old sister Nellie are two of the lucky ones to escape Vienna.

At first, they don’t feel so lucky.  Once in Sweden, they are placed with separate host families.  They miss their parents, they miss each other.  Then Stephie sees Nellie quickly adapting to life in Sweden – learning the language, becoming attached to her host family.  She feels resentful – having a hard time learning Swedish and adjusting to her own host family.

Stephie’s only hope is that her parents will send for them once they reach Amsterdam.  Then their family will be reunited and together travel to America.

But as the months pass, her parents stop sending letters.  Now Stephie is concerned she’ll never see them again.

a faraway island by Annika Thor is a moving story about the difficulties of displacement and the meaning of identity in the midst of growing up.  This is the first of four books about the Steiner sisters – so readers can look forward to continuing their story after finishing a faraway island.

Highly recommended for ages 9 and up.

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