Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Saving Zasha” as Want to Read:
Saving Zasha
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Saving Zasha

4.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,846 Ratings  ·  276 Reviews
In post WWII Russia, one boy dares to save an entire race of outlawed dogs -- the German shepherd!

World War II has just ended when thirteen-year-old Mikhail finds a dying man and his German shepherd, Zasha, in the woods. It's dangerous -- some say traitorous -- to own a German dog after Germany attacked Russia, so Mikhail must keep Zasha a secret to keep her alive.

But Mikh
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published January 1st 2011 by Scholastic Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The Giving Tree by Shel SilversteinWhen You Reach Me by Rebecca SteadBecause of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamilloDon't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo WillemsSaving Zasha by Randi Barrow
My All-Time Favorites
5th out of 21 books — 14 voters
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth SteinA Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce CameronMarley and Me by John GroganWhere the Red Fern Grows by Wilson RawlsThe Call of the Wild by Jack London
Great "Dog" Books
196th out of 801 books — 1,594 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Alfredo Valdez
How would you feel if a World War 2 just ended in Russia and on one day, a soldier that is critically injured comes to your back woods of your farm and has a German Shepherd at his sides.Well in "Saving Zasha" that is what happens to Mikhail and his family, this leads to them keeping Zasha a secret, because at the time everything that was German or made in Germany must be destroyed by the Russians including........dogs.The genre of the story is a mix between realistic fiction and historical fict ...more
May 19, 2011 Hal rated it it was amazing
You'll Fall in Love with Zasha and Mikhail ! !

I found this book to be: exceptionally well-written, poignant, & charming.

Great for: upper elementary, middle school.

This engaging, moving, thrilling story is set in a rural part of northern Russia, at the end of World War II. I found it so easy to relate to the characters, especially Mikhail and his older brother, Nikolai. Their family is changed forever by the discovery of Zasha, a beautiful, intelligent German shepherd dog. For Randi Barrow,
Ms. Okes
Nov 24, 2013 Ms. Okes rated it it was ok
Saving Zasha is a sweet book about a little known problem (at least to Americans): the near extinction of any dog in European countries after World War 2. According to the history-based novel, dogs were used and abused for many different purposes, including carrying bombs under tanks, carrying messages through enemy territory, and acting as guard dogs and killers. In addition, declining food resources meant that many animals starved just as humans were struggling to make ends meet. Last, prejudi ...more
Alex Baugh
Jan 04, 2013 Alex Baugh rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-2
Even though the war is over, conditions are still difficult in Russia and if you are a dog, especially a German Shepard, things are downright dangerous. It is hard to believe tha in a country that no longer has any dogs left because of the war, German dogs, are nevertheless. killed immediately. After all, Germany started the war and Russians still hate them so much they even hate their dogs. So imagine the fear and awe13 year old Mikhail feels when he finds a severely wounded soldier with the mo ...more
Heather Johnson
Dec 20, 2013 Heather Johnson rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the story! It is suitable for a middle school level and an interesting idea based on history in Russia (read the last few pages at the end to understand the history). The writing said just enough, the characters had personality and were realistic, and the story progressed well and was filled with exciting moments.

I wish we could have known more about the man who brought Zasha. The audience almost did, but it would have been nice to solve that mystery. The ending wrapped up happily, an
Maddie D
Dec 14, 2012 Maddie D rated it really liked it
5TH RESPONSE: 12/11/12

I am currently reading saving Zasha, by: Randi Barrow. This book takes place right after World War II. Mikhail and her family are Russian. Mikhail finds a bloody man who has a German shepherd. Mikhail takes the man and the dog back to her house. Her family tries to save the man but soon he dies. But Mikhail and her family decide to keep the German shepherd. Along the way Katia, Mikhail’s classmate, is very suspicious and thinks the man was covered in dog hairs. So far I thi
Jessica Cruz
Nov 29, 2015 Jessica Cruz rated it it was amazing
***SPOILER ALERT***What would you feel if World War two just ended in Russia and you find a dieing soldier with a badly infection with his German shepherd in your woods? Well all of this happens in the story "Saving Zasha". KEEP ON READING IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS IN THE STORY!........

The book "Saving Zasha" is about a boy named Mikhail finds an injured soldier with his German shepherd. Mikhail notices that he is badly wounded so he takes the soldier and his dog to his house their mom
Dec 23, 2014 Danna rated it really liked it
Are you the kind of person that feels sorry or cries if an animal ( a dog perhaps) is hurt or killed? If so, you have found your destined book. Saving Zasha is realistic-fiction book with many great details. This book is sure to leave you wanting more of it. It is a unique book with many interesting facts and a fantastic narrative overall. This book gives outstanding vocabulary and a good idea of what to imagine in your head. The only thing I would change is that the book is too predictable. Yo ...more
May 18, 2015 Julia rated it it was amazing
I've always been a sucker for dog books, that's why I choose to read Saving Zasha. This book takes place right after the end of WWII to Russia. There is a family of a mother, 2 sons, and daughter who take care of their farm after their father has been sent to war. This family soon discovers a dying man and his German Shepard, Zasha. After an attempt by the mother to save him, the man dies and the family is left with Zasha. Due to the immense hatred of the Germans, the family are forced to hide Z ...more
Oct 27, 2012 Gigi rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 13, 2011 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: grades 5-7
In 1945 Russia, dogs are rare--because of the war, many died from starvation or in battle. This is why 13-year-old Mikhail is shocked to one day find an injured man with a German Shepherd in the woods near his home.

Mikhail's family did all they could for the man, but he dies, leaving behind his dog whose name, they learned, is Zasha. Zasha is such a good dog that they decide to keep her, although it will be dangerous for them because some might view them as traitors for having a German dog (the
Anthony Olson
Mar 07, 2016 Anthony Olson rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: read it
Recommended to Anthony by: nobody
I thought it was a really good book I liked the dog named zasha. Zasha was a Germansheperd and in the time period the book is in dogs were killed. The Russins hated everything German because World War 2 just ended. Mikhal and his family hid zasha becuase they didnt want zasha takin away from them or killed. Dimitri was a retired militant that had dogs hidden in his back yard because the military wants him to try to make a super dog.
Mar 04, 2012 Sierra rated it it was amazing
I love this book! I recommend this book to everyone from dog lovers to even boys into military. This book is a love adventure between man's best friend and war. 12 year-old Mikhail is saving the last German Shepard in Russia. Other people want the dog though. Will Zasha the German Shepard be saved or destroyed. Read to find out. I recommend this book to everyone who is wanting to read something that is a touching but yet strong. This book is amazing and I couldn't stop. Everyone should read this ...more
This is an interesting young adult book, about a topic that I really wasn't very aware of, which is the fact that almost all dogs in the Soviet Union were killed during World War II. Zasha is a German Shepherd dog that is found by a 13 year old boy in Russia, and the story follows his attempts to hide her and save her from a variety of dangers.

We also learn about the Russian Military's attempt to breed dogs following the war, and about the creating of a breed that still exists today, the Black R
Jill Cater
Apr 28, 2015 Jill Cater rated it really liked it
Saving Zasha

***Spoiler Alert*** In the book Saving Zasha the main characters are Mikhail, who is a 13 year old, Zasha who is a German Shepard, and Dimitri who takes care of Zasha. One major adventure that happens in the book is towards the end you wonder if Zasha will live or die during the war. My favorite character is Dimitri, because he takes care of Zasha, even if he’s in the middle of a hard task, like war.
The theme of this book is to always keep a friend by your side no matter what the
Abby Hagan
Oct 28, 2014 Abby Hagan rated it really liked it
I just read the book "Saving Zasha". This book is written by Randi Barrow, which I've never heard of before. This book really caught my attention, because it had a really cute German Shepherd on the front of it. The reason I like German shepherds, is because I have two of my own!

This book is takes place in Russia, right after World War II, and there are little to none dogs that are left. One of the main characters Mikhail finds a dying man who has a German shepherd with him. They treat the man
Jun 18, 2014 Krista rated it really liked it
Shelves: caudill-2015
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mitch Meyer
Apr 30, 2014 Mitch Meyer rated it really liked it
At the end of WW2, a young boy named Mikhail finds a dying man and his dog Zasha, a German Shepard alone in the Russian wilderness, it's no spoiler alert that the owner eventually keels over meaning Mikhail and his family gets to keep the dog! But there is a catch to taking this dog into his care. Since the attack from the Nazis, any and all German dog breeds were hunted down, killed, and outlawed! Now it's all up to Mikhail to save the last German Shepard in Old Mother Russia from rivals, dog t ...more
David Garcia
This book I have been reading is called "Saving Zasha" by Randi Barrow. This book takes place in Russia during world war 2. The main characters in this book are Mikhail and the German Shepherd he found and the dying man stumbling through his family woods.The conflict in this story is owning a German dog after Germany attacked Russia. So Mikhail had to keep Zasha a secret to keep her alive. But Mikhail’s rival, Katia, is determined to find the dog she is sure he’s hiding but at the same time this ...more
World War II is over and Russia is trying to recover. However, there is one interesting to note, there are virtually no dogs in Russia. They were all killed in battle. Well, one day a teen named Mikhail finds a dying man at the end of his families' property lines along with a German Shepard. It is well known that Russians will kill German Shepards on the spot because the Germans were and are their enemies so their dogs are too. However, Mikhail still manages to bring the man home to his mother, ...more
Grace Dreyer
Feb 06, 2014 Grace Dreyer rated it really liked it
Saving Zasha is a wonderful book about the true love a child and a dog can share. The main character, Mikhail, had one brother, Nikolai, one sister, Rina, a mother, and a father who went off to war and hasn't been seen for 4 years. The Tarvok family were living life like most families after the war, doing their chores and keeping a low profile. The family was pretty fortunate to miss most of the fighting during the war but after Mikhail brings home a German shepherd, the Tarvok family has to fi ...more
Apr 10, 2014 Carolyn rated it really liked it
A Rebecca Caudill 2015 book. Well-written with engaging characters, this historical novel takes place in Russia just after World War II. There are very few dogs left in the country, because they have been starved, used for combat purposes, or killed. In particular, German breeds such as the German Shepherd, dachshund, schnauzer and Doberman were targeted because of hatred of Germany. After the war, there was an effort to breed a particularly Russian type of dog, affectionate yet hard-working, wh ...more
WWII just barely over, the Tarkov family, are waiting for the return of their father from the war, really not knowing whether he is dead or alive at this point. Mikhail, 13, stumbles upon a wounded man in the field and manages to get him back to his house in an attempt to care for his wounds. Along with the man is a beautiful German Shepard dog named Zasha. The man succumbs to his injuries fairly quickly, and all the Tarkov children are eager to care for the gentle dog. One problem: the Russians ...more
Sara Stowe
Mar 02, 2015 Sara Stowe rated it it was amazing
The book Saving Zasha I think is a great book because the setting is the German war and everything that was going on during the war. It really makes you think about what life was back then. There is two kids and they live with the mom and they are in the middle of war. They have no idea who there dad is. There mom was an acholic and drinks a lot at night. They were out side in the trees and found a dog and they brought him home. Mom said we half to hide the dog. Because if someone found out abou ...more
Feb 04, 2014 M. rated it it was amazing
At some point during WWII, the Soviet Union decided on a policy to eliminate all dogs from the country. The war has now ended and people want dogs although it doesn’t seem as though the ban has yet been lifted (or if it has, known about in this remote Northern village). People want pet dogs and working dogs and the Red Army is actively searching for breeding dogs to develop a new, uniquely Russian dog. Dogs are now a rare commodity and command a high price on the black market if they can be fou ...more
Jan 08, 2015 Kira rated it really liked it
This book is called Saving Zasha. The author is Randi Barrow. The Genre is Historical Fiction. There is 229 pages. This book is about two boys who lived out in the country during a War, and a guy showed up at there house with a dog. The country they were living in didn’t want any German Shepard’s because they were in War with the Germans. So this guy showed up on there land stabbed and he was with a German Shepard. The guy later ended up dying and the family was stuck with the German Shepard. Th ...more
Jul 22, 2014 Jill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

Saving Zasha was a book about a Russian family who comes across a German Shepherd after its owner turns up on their farm and then died from an infection. In post-WWII Russia, dogs are scarce since they were used to fight the war. The family is scared for the dog because it's German, and the people in Russia are still mad at the Germans for being horrible in WWII.

This book had promise. I do love me a good WWII book, and this was a topic and setting not often written about. I am a big fan of t
Lauren Waters
Jun 22, 2016 Lauren Waters rated it really liked it
I think students will like this story set in Russia after WWII. It tells an interesting part of history with the dog population dwindling during this time period, and many students will be able to relate to the feeling of comfort an animal is able to bring to a family during difficult times. This is a quick read. The only reason it wasn't finished in a day or two for me was due to the fact that I took a timeout from my reading to watch Roots.
Jan 21, 2014 Rorycrittenden rated it it was amazing
In the book “saving Zasha” by Randi Barrow. This book is about a family dealing with the struggles of war, ww2 ended and the family is living in Russia, the father of the family was at war and they do not know if he is still alive.The main character is a thirteen year old boy named Mikhail he finds a man in the woods who has wandered on to their farm land. Mikhail realizes that the man is badly bleeding and has a German shepherd with him named Zasha.The man dies and Mikhail takes the dog, not re ...more
Jul 10, 2014 Tracie rated it it was ok
In 1945 Russia, 13-year-old Mikhail finds Zasha, a German shepherd, in the woods near his home. With anti-German sentiment running high, can Mikhail keep Zasha safe from those who believe that owning a German shepherd is traitorous?

I found the premise and the history behind this novel to be intriguing but was disappointed with the author's execution of this tale. The first-person narrative just didn't ring true to me; I simply wasn't convinced that a 13-year-old boy was telling this story. The c
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A Diamond in the Desert
  • Beyond Lucky
  • Never Say Die
  • Saving Audie: A Pit Bull Puppy Gets a Second Chance
  • Hamstermagic (Animalmagic, #3)
  • A Dog's Way Home
  • Lara's Gift
  • Phantoms In The Snow
  • Soldier Bear
  • Wild Life
  • Dancing Home
  • Anne Frank
  • Warriors in the Crossfire
  • Goyangi Means Cat
  • Ghetto Cowboy
  • Will in Scarlet
  • City of Orphans
  • Duke
I started my working life as an adoption attorney. After twenty years I was able to begin writing full time. My first two books were historical fiction for middle grade kids. I've expanded into adult fiction with Chasing the Beatles. It was great fun to write, and I'm thrilled with the response I'm getting from readers. My love of music, and the Beatles in particular, helped inspire this book. And ...more
More about Randi Barrow...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »