The Devil's Arithmetic
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The Devil's Arithmetic

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  27,915 ratings  ·  1,423 reviews
FICTION
Mass Market Paperback, 170 pages
Published January 1st 2000 by Scholastic (first published 1988)
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Meaghan
I wish I could say I liked this book. I thought I would. I know it's critically acclaimed and a well-known story. But it left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

The book is meant to educate young people about the Holocaust, but it had a lot of historical inaccuracies. The idyllic shtetl world at the beginning of Chaya's story would have been long gone by 1942 -- by that time, all the Jews left alive in Poland were in ghettos, in concentration camps or in hiding. Lublin, the place Chaya supposedly c...more
Chris
This semester I am requiring my students to read The True Story of Hansel and Gretel, a novel takes place in Poland during World War II. The good news is that my students love the book; in fact, several of them are reading ahead.

The shocking fact, the bad news, is what they don’t know. It is not just knowledge of history that they lack; it is knowledge of basic geography.

God bless PowerPoint and blackboard.

To be fair, my students do ask intelligent questions, yet the lack of basic knowledge i...more
Lindsey
Nov 22, 2008 Lindsey rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Lindsey by: My children's lit professor
Anyone and everyone should read this book! It's a very fast read because it was written for children but it tells a beautiful story and has a great twist in the end. The Devil's Arithmetic is about a young Jewish girl who doesn't quite understand her family's past. She finds Jewish holidays and celebrations to be boring and is unappreciative of the hardships Jews have faced. She is mysteriously transported to the past and ends up in a concentration camp. Here she suffers the hardships first hand...more
K8
Twelve year old Hannah is sick of spending Passover 'remembering' the past with her relatives. During the Passover Seder, she is transported to 1942 Poland, where she becomes Chaya (her Hebrew name), the girl she was named for. In this time, she is eventually sent to a concentration camp, where the bulk of the story takes place. Throughout the book, she struggles with memory - which memories are real (the future or the now), remembering anything b/c of the trauma of the camp, futilely trying to...more
Kim
Summary: When Hannah opens the door during Passover Seder to symbolically welcome the profit Elijah, she suddenly finds herself in the unfamiliar world of a Polish village i the 1940's. Hannah had always complained about listening about listening to her relatives tell the same stories of the Holocaust over and over, but now she finds herself in terrifying situation. The Nazi soldiers have come to take the villagers away, and Hannah can guess where they are going.

Response: I loved this book. Bei...more
Ayanna Dukes
So, during school (L.A) we're learning about World War II and the Holocaust, I've always wanted to learn more about both topics. My teacher suggested this book to me, and I'm happy that she did. I've never, so far, read a book like this in my life. First of all, this was the first Holocaust book I've read. I just love how this book starts and ends, sort of like a circular ending. Most books wont make me shed tears but this one did. I think it was amazing that Hannah the main character, got to go...more
Loralee
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Becky
Sep 09, 2008 Becky rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone -- but especially teenagers that think they are the center of the universe! ;)
Recommended to Becky by: Thrift store find
I wasn't really sure what to make of this book when I first saw it, but after having read it, I would say that I am glad that I did.

This is one of those books that really makes you look at things from a different perspective. I can relate to Hannah, because I remember being 13 and having little patience with traditions and customs, and just wanting to hang out with my friends.

But given the experience Hannah had, she was able to see things in a new way, and was granted a gift, even though it wa...more
Lars Guthrie
Yolen employs a "Magic Tree House" trope to move her main character, Hannah, a bored American thirteen-year-old at her family's Seder dinner, through time, space and language, and it comes off as hokey. Once Hannah becomes Chaya, an orphan living in a Polish village in 1942, though, this tale grabs onto the reader and doesn't let go. Hannah opens the door of her family's apartment to welcome the prophet Elijah and is soon crammed into a crowded cattle car with other Jews on a train destined for...more
Alex Baugh
Since tonight is the first night of Passover, I thought I would review a book that is appropriate to the season. I chose The Devil's Arithmetic because, like the Passover story, it is also about the importance of remembering who you are and where you came from.

Hannah Stern, 12 but almost 13, is a happy girl living in New Rochelle with her parents and little brother, except that she doesn't want to go to her family's Passover Seder. Bored and apathetic, Hannah is tired of hearing her grandfather...more
Lisa Vegan
This is a marvelous book for young adults, although I wouldn’t recommend it as their first introduction to the holocaust because it portrays the atrocities committed in a starkly realistic way. And, unlike some young adult books that I enjoyed as young as nine or ten years old, I wouldn’t give this to kids until they were at least 12.

It is a wonderful story and, because the main character, an American Jewish girl who’s 12 years old, is from the present time (even though the book was written twen...more
Kayla Vandehey
Do you ever find yourself being sick of remembering? That's exactly how Hannah feels while she's on her way to visit her relatives for Passover Seder, complaining that remembering is boring. But she is in for a lot more than she expects for this Holiday. During the Passover dinner Hannah is chosen by her grandpa to go welcome the Prophet Elijah, but instead after walking through the door she is transported to a small Polish village. Everyone there claims her name is Chaya, which is her Hebrew na...more
Kayla Gaussaint Ivy League School
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrea Kulman
This book captivated me from beginning to end. The story flowed as if a conductor were actually standing before an entire band conducting a piece of music from Mozart. Such a strong story.
L11_Ryanne Szydlik
Devil's Arithmetic was a powerful story told from a young girl's point of view. Hannah is attending her family's passover celebration with much disinterest. She can not understand why the elders in her family are so serious with the various traditions during passover. This year she is chosen to be the family member that must go to the door to see if the prophet Elijah was coming. Instead of Elijah, Hannah is brought back to the time period when WWII is just beginning. Hannah's comfortable life o...more
Tatiana
The last thing Hannah Stern wants to do is remember. The 12-year-old Jewish girl is bored by her relatives’ stories about the horrors they experienced during the Holocaust. Hannah doesn’t even want to be at Passover Seder, but she plays along with the tedious traditions and opens a hallway door to symbolically welcome in the prophet, Elijah. The action transports her into a village in Poland. The year is 1942, during the height of World War II. Here, Hannah is known as Chaya Abramowicz, an orpha...more
Stephanie
Hannah, a young Jewish girl, has gone to see her family, but this is not all she sees. In the beginning of the book, Hannah does not understand the importance of her religion and how it should affect her life in the present day. As opening the, what I call, "the gate to the past," she sees goes back in time and tries to understand what the past was like for her ancestors and the other people just like her. She sees the Holocaust flash right before her eyes and she slowly begins to realize why he...more
Janette
I usually read to avoid hearing about depressing subjects but I went ahead and read this one even though it was about a Jewish girl living during WW2.

It was a good book, and I got choked up in the end. Then I couldn't get to sleep at night because I was too busy pondering how civilized societies are capable of butchering millions of people. It seems so impossible, and yet it's happened more than once in history.

It makes you look at your friends and neighbors and wonder what sort of hearts of da...more
JoBeth
I like the book because it was exciting because Hannah went back in the past to Poland during the World War II. The ending was sweet because Hannah and her Aunt Eva started to talk about when Aunt Eva was in the camps.
I didn’t like the book because I wanted the book to get to the point. I thought it took too long to find out if Hannah would go back to the future to New Rochelle.
Characters: Hannah lives with her parent and brother. She is Jewish girl and some of her family members were in the H...more
Sara
Dec 04, 2008 Sara rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Heather, Susan
Recommended to Sara by: Elizabeth
This was really sad and scary. But so REALISTIC!! It's terrifying to think that it acually would happen! (Not the time traveling, the concentration camp.)

It is about a Jewish girl, Hannah, who is at a passover dinner, when she goes through a door and finds herself in 1942. Everyone knows who she is except herself. They think she is an orphan girl called Chaya, which is what her name is in some language. She makes five friends; Rachel, Shirfre, Ester, Yente, and Rivka. Rachel and Yente die on t...more
Tyler Roman
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ehsan
I think I would give this book a 4 star book because Hannah really did not care about the Holocaust because it was a long time ago.
A. The things I liked about the book are that at the end of the book it was Hannah’s family that she was with.
B. Things I did not like about the book that so many people of her family member died
C. 1. The characters in the books are Hannah; Chaya which is also Hannah and RIvka, Gitl, Schmuel, Yitzcak and Fayge.
2. The one important scene in the book is that they nev...more
Christian



The Devil’s Arithmetic
I would give it 3 stars, because the book was good, but Chaya makes a big sacrifice in the end.
The things I liked about the book?
They are trying their best to survive the concentration camps. She sacrificed her life at the end so Rivka could live. They don’t make eye contact to the guards; they organize foods & supplies. Rivka gives Chaya advice for surviving the camps
The things I didn't like about the book?
Rachel died on the train because she had asthma. Chaya sacr...more
Zach Horowitz
The Devil's Arithmetic, by Jane Yolen, is a thrilling story about a girl who is transported back in time to the holocaust and must figure out how to survive in the concentration camps. Hannah Stern is a 13-year-old Jewish girl who is bored and tired of her life in New York. At the end of her family’s Passover Seder, Hannah is suddenly taken back in time to Poland in the year 1941 during the Holocaust. Hannah becomes Chaya, a 13-year-old Jewish girl who lives with her aunt, Gitl, and her uncle, S...more
Gwyneth
Summary: The book The Devil's Arithmetic is a book about a girl named Hannah who during Seder dinner gets transported to the past during the beginning of the Holocaust. Hannah becomes a girl named Chaya who's family is being to be transfered to a concentration camp. Her new family has no idea what's going on, but Hannah has a small hunch of what happening. SPOILER ALERT While in the camp, she be-friends two other girls, and when during selection her friends get picked to die, she takes the place...more
Tish
This is a good introduction for younger readers to what it was like to be Jewish during the Holocaust, what it was like to be sent to a concentration camp, what it was like to think that just being alive for one more hour was enough. Reading lists of concentration camps and statistics of how many were killed, etc., is just data: too remote to really wrap your mind around.

My only complaint about this book is that at the end of it, I was left feeling it should have been better. It was hard to figu...more
Barbara Brien
This book is about remembering, and about life. I remember the stories, the history lessons, the grandparents who had some part to play in that horrible war.

None of us know how we will act in extreme circumstances unless we are in them. We like to think we will behave heroically, and believe we will therefore deserve the respect or adoration of others. But everyday we are deserving of respect just for living.

Is the hero who rushes into the fire better than the person who unnoticed feeds the po...more
Allegra Hailey Green
I really enjoyed reading this novel as a kid. I had read many books about the holocaust, but I felt that this one was the one that had the most in-depth description of what day-to-day life at a concentration camp was like. Very moving.
Mekenna Wilson
This book is about a young Jewish girl , named Hannah, who when celebrating the Seder. When she opens the door to theoretically let in a prophet Elijah, she is transported into a time where there was prejudice against Jews. Throughout the time that she is there, she learns how life was for Jews in the 1900's. She learns about life, and death, and survival.
This is a good book and I would recommend it to anyone who likes to put themselves into someone else's shoes. Jane Yolen is a great author an...more
Carrie Rzeppa
Cam and I read this book together and we throughly enjoyed every page. This book is the story of a young, Jewish girl who lacks appreciation for her heritage and is sent on a time traveling journey back to the time of the Holocaust. She experiences a concentration camp firsthand, and truly learns to appreciate all that her ancestors have experienced and discovers how to give of herself for the first time. The author handles the horrendous events that occur at a concentration camp with an accurat...more
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  • Letters from Rifka
  • The Upstairs Room
  • Daniel's Story
  • Anne Frank and Me
  • Stepping on the Cracks
  • Torn Thread
  • ...I never saw another butterfly...
  • If I Should Die Before I Wake
  • Under the Blood-Red Sun
  • Behind the Bedroom Wall
  • Friedrich
  • Yellow Star
  • Someone Named Eva
  • Stones in Water
  • The Island on Bird Street
  • Soldier X
  • The Boy Who Dared
  • The Cage
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Jane Yolen is a novelist, poet, fantasist, journalist, songwriter, storyteller, folklorist, and children’s book author who has written more than three hundred books. Her accolades include the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Awards, the Kerlan Award, two Christopher Awards, and six honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities in Massachuset...more
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“You are a name, not a number. Never forget that name, whatever they tell you here. You will always be Chaya—life—to me.” 26 likes
“We all have such stories. It is a brutal arithmetic. But I - I am alive. You are alive. As long as we breathe, we can see and hear. As long as we can remember, all those gone before are alive inside us.” 21 likes
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