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The Year of Goodbyes

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  298 ratings  ·  83 reviews

This book tells the true story of what happened to a 12-year-old girl named Jutta (Debbie Levy’s mother) in 1938. Actual entries in a posiealbum (autograph book) serve as stepping stones in a crucial year in history, when people of Jewish ancestry in Germany and Austria were systematically stripped of their rights, subjected to violence, and arrested without cause. Jutta w

Hardcover, 144 pages
Published March 16th 2010 by Disney-Hyperion (first published January 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,009)
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Michelle Pegram
Based on entries in her mother's poesiealbum, a blank book in which her friends shared thoughts, poems, drawings, and advice, Debbie Levy tells the story of her family's last year in Germany - the year of 1938.

In chronological order, the reader experiences a page from the album and then a story in verse that leads to another album entry. In this way, it is possible to experience the contrast between the innocence and experience of childhood and the ever approaching danger of the Nazis.

Jutta, p
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I gained so much insight from this quick read. The owner of the posiealbum was a very deep thinker for age 12 and asked really good questions about life and what she was experiencing.
I got goosebumps when I read that when Jutta & a friend were reunited 60 years later her friend said, "As we were saying..." and Jutta completed it with "before we were so rudely interrupted." So endearing.
Levy helps the rest us with an intimate glimpse into a life that most of us, will never comprehend; such as having to leave nearly all their possessions and money behind in order to flee their country or watching their neighbors and friends systematically rounded up and sent to concentration camps. The story is told through the actual diary & autograph book entries of Levy's mother from 1938; it is told in verse and flows very well. It is a very quick read with authentic family photographs a ...more
I loved this little gem! It was a very quick read and is a Utah Beehive Book Award Nominee. This book was based on the life of her mother and I really enjoyed the way it was written. I connected to it on such a personal level because of the diary feel of the book. I recommend this for children and feel it is such an important part of history to pass down to each generation.
Mar 25, 2010 Lisa marked it as to-read
From my friend Nancy:

This beautiful, 3-minute book clip is worth watching. The new book is "The Year of Goodbyes," by my writer group friend Debbie Levy. It's a children's book about Debbie's mother's holocaust experience as a child -
IndyPL Kids Book Blog
12 year old Jutta Salzberg lives in Germany in 1938. She likes going to school and being with her friends and having fun - just like you. Jutta lives in 1938 though, when Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were in power. Hitler and the Nazis were responsible for the oppression and killing of Jewish people in Germany from 1941-1945. Jutta and her family are Jewish and try to live normally even though rules keep being passed that make their Jewish customs and way of life illegal. Finally, Jutta’s dad real ...more
Valerie Ormond
I attended the Annapolis Book Festival in April as a panelist on the subject: Young Adult: Keeping It Real. Debbie Levy, the author of The Year of Goodbyes and a fellow panelist, explained how she decided to write this book using the format she did. The book is about her young Jewish mother living in Nazi Germany, but Levy tells the story in verse, based on entries in her mother's "posiealbum," a book in which friends record thoughts, poems, and creative postings. Levy also used her mother's per ...more
This was a fascinating WWII account told with the use of a little girl's friend-journal or autograph diary. It is a true story, the little girl being the author's mother. She was a little Jewish girl in Hamburg, Germany at the time of the Nazi rise in power. Included is each page of the diary where a different friend has signed, perhaps leaving a little poem or a little piece of advice, together with a commentary (told in first person) of how the little girl really felt about that note from her ...more
Margo Tanenbaum
While there are many novels and non-fiction books about the Holocaust aimed at young readers, with more appearing every year, Debbie Levy's unique little volume deserves a place on school and public library shelves. Levy's mother, Jutta Salzberg, and her immediate family were among the fortunate few--they left Germany in 1938 for America, barely escaping arrest and probable death at the hands of the Nazis.

One of the few cherished items Jutta was able to bring with her was her posiealbum, or poe
The Year of Goodbyes by Debbie Levy is an adaptation of her mother’s poesiealbum (poetry album) into a narrative poem, peppered with images and actual entries, and a WWII historical time line as well as a resource listing and a section catching up with Jutta Salzberg’s family and friends and their ultimate fates. This powerful hybrid poem/memoir not only examines the horrifying snowball effect of Nazi Germany’s laws against Jews, but also how Jewish children still found ways to maintain their ch ...more
A really good choice for a Beehive nominee. This book was different in its origin that it crosses various shelves--including historical and biographical. I am always one where "based on true stories" gets to me. This book not only is based on one, but uses actual records from the author's mother's life. I was simply in awe of things they wrote. And I loved the free verse the author used to supplement what was occurring between the various entries. But what wrenched my heart was to read what happ ...more
Cindy Hudson
In The Year of Goodbyes, author Debbie Levy takes a fresh approach to memoir and the story of German Jews in the late 1930s. The book takes place in the year 1938, when Jutta Salzberg, Levy’s mother, is a 12-year-old girl living in Hamburg, Germany. Restrictions against Jews have gotten tighter during the last few years, and her father is desperate to leave with his family for the U.S., where he has relatives who will sponsor him. They have permission from German officials and the money to book ...more
This book is written in a very cool format. Author Debbie Levy includes photos, stickers, doodles, poetry, and entries from her mother's real poesiealbum, which is a album young girls in Germany used to own. Debbie Levy's mother, growing up as a Jewish girl in Hamburg, Germany, used to have her friends write quotes and sayings in her album. The book focuses on the situation in Germany in 1938. Fortunately, Jutta and her family were able to escape the country and come to America before it was too ...more
I wanted to give this a 3.5 rating.

This book is good, and it is interesting. It's a little light on information, though. There are copies of the actual written pages of the author's mother's posie album, written during WWII in Germany. There are also a few pages from the mother's own diary.

The text portions of it, though, are written by the author as an interpretation of conversations she had with her mother about what happened. It kind of bothered me that it was not the mother's own words, and
Kate Madigan
This was short read that was created by the author using a combination of her mother's diary entries, poesiealbum entries, and conversations about the experience of living in Germany as Hitler slowly gained power and then fleeing to the United States the night before Kristallnacht. While it is a little light on content, it was an interesting glimpse into the life of a family who was able to make it out of Germany.
Julie W
Quick read. Interesting format written as poetry. I enjoyed seeing a glimpse into a year in the life of a young girl in WW2. The author interspersed the poetry of her mothers friends with her memories of what was happening as she and her family were trying to leave Hamburg, Germany in 1938. It was glad that she included a follow up on where her friends where now or what happened to them.
Wow. I'm only a few pages in but already crying. Evocative and beautiful, without terrorizing. A really good Holocaust book for younger readers not ready for graphic histories.

"Father used to say, 'Things will get better.' He doesn't say that anymore."

The things children think about as they mourn the loss of their normal lives -- "Who will get my roller skates?" -- will help young readers understand and feel the losses of even those who lived.

"We are here in America. This will be home now. No Na
Jan 21, 2012 Diane rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Diane by: Beth
A lovely little book. In the 1930's Germany girls had poesiealbums - something like our autograph albums. Levy found her mother's poesiealbum from 1938 when her mother was 12 and Nazis were expelling Jews. Her mother's family left Germany one day before their home was raided and 2 days before Kristalnacht; they sailed on the Queen Mary for the United States.

Levy and her mother, Jutta, use the entries in the poesiealbum and entries from Jutta's diary - each page reproduced with a translation and
I scanned this book and almost didn't read it. I'm glad I gave it a second look. The form is unique and lovely, the story puts a human face on the tragedies of World War II without being overly frightening for children, and the writing is excellent. I shelved this book as YA but in many cases it could be appropriate for a guided middle-grader. The book contains a reference to a girl's maturation and also to some disturbing Nazi Germany events and the harsh fears of an entire community.

The After
The Year of Goodbyes tells the story of Jutta Salzberg and her family during the time just before World War II. The book is told through poesiealbum entries of Jutta's friends and family. A poesiealbum is a diary/autograph book that was popular with young girls at this time. The poesiealbum was often taken home by a friend and great care was given to create a well-decorated and inspirational thought in the book. The author, Debbie Levy, is Jutta's daughter. Levy has recreated and translated the ...more
Lois Szymanski
Debbie Levy's sparse words deliver a powerful message in this middle grade novel based on her mother Jutta's escape from Nazi Germany.

Using her mother's poesiealbum as a springboard, the author opens each chapter with an entry from the "poetry album," an autograph book filled with poetry and drawings from friends, the very friends she was leaving behind as her family fled to America.

This candid look at a 12 year old's life in an ever changing country will leave readers feeling sad, yet happy a
Beautifully written, well researched and utterly heartbreaking. This is based on the Levy’s mother’s actual poesiealbum popular in Germany at the time of Hitler’s rise. Levy ties all of the children’s entries together in a poetic narrative that explains what is happening all around them. This would be an impressive and moving enough insight of 1938, the year Hitler really began asserting his anti-Jew policies. Then Levy fills you in on what happened to all these people after her mother’s family ...more
About the holocaust. This is based on the author's mother's posiealbum (similar to an autograph book) and diary written in 1938 as well as her mother's recollections of her last year in Hamburg,Germany. The author quotes the posiealbum (translating the German into English) and adds poetry or verse about those experiences. It was an interesting and unique approach to this time period. I appreciated that she shared what happened to each of the people who signed the album, except five who she has b ...more
Told through the actual diary /autograph book entries of Levy's mother from 1938, Year of Goodbyes is a heartbreaking look through the eyes of a young Jewish girl at the days leading up to the Holocaust. The entries were touching enough; however, Levy's follow-up research concerning what happened to everyone else mentioned in the days after the entries is chilling and what really hits the reader. A well-researched book that would be an excellent companion to Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl ...more
Anything to do with the Holocaust astounds me which is why a coworker found this and recommended it to me. What a fast, engaging read! Granted, it is meant for children, but I don't typically expect to get through a 130 page book in 45 minutes! The book itself takes excerpts from the author's mother's poetry book when she was 12 living in Hamburg, Germany during the time when Jews were starting to disappear overnight from their homes. Alongside the excerpts from the journal are collaborative tho ...more
This book is about a gIrl named Jutta who lives in the late 1930s, which is around the time Hitler was in power. Fearing for their lives, her family and her get tickets to America. Jutta feels a mix of emotions when leaving; she feels sadness to see herself leave what she has always called home, hope for the future, and joy to leave the Nazis.
I liked learning from this perspective. I also loved that the book was written in a journal where all of her friends write goodbye notes and advice and the
Book written in free verse about young Jewish girl in 1938 Germany and her experience coming to America. Excerpts from her journal entries and notes from friends are included.
I typically appreciate books that approach history in a unique format, and this was no exception. Each chapter began with an excerpt from the author's mother (Jutta)'s autograph album, and then finished with free verse text that revealed what Jutta was thinking.

Very similar in topic to Is it Night or Day?, this is another Holocaust novel that follows a story that I feel I haven't heard before. Jutta was fortunate to escape from Germany, but the narrative also touched on many of her friends and f
Four feels a little generous, but three would be stingy. (See for more.)
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Quarter 4 Review 1 1 May 27, 2014 01:24PM  
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