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No Pretty Pictures: A Child of War

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  1,173 Ratings  ·  104 Reviews
Anita Lobel was barely five years old when World War II began and the Nazis burst into her home in Krakow, Poland, changing her life forever. She spent the days of her childood in hiding with her brother and their nanny in the countryside, in the ghetto, then finally in a convent when the Nazis caught up with her and she was imprisoned in a succession of concentration camp ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published September 17th 1998 by Greenwillow Books (first published 1998)
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Feb 11, 2009 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a non-fiction book written by a Jewish woman who was five years old when WW II started. She went into hiding with her Christian nanny, who ironically does not like Jews, but wants to protect the author and her brother so she claims they are her children. After moving from place to place in hiding and having almost no contact with her mother or father, she is captured by the Nazi’s and taken to a concentration camp. During the last few months of the war she experiences all of the horrors ...more
Kate Madigan
Nov 02, 2014 Kate Madigan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Initially I debated between a 3 and a 4 for this book but ultimately decided on the latter because I felt the writing deserved it. I found myself struggling to connect with the main character and her desire to rid herself of anything family-related or identifiably Jewish. I wanted her to feel pride instead of shame or disgust. Her lack of any kind of emotional connection to her parents in particular bothered me. However, upon reflecting on this, I realized her reaction to herself and family was ...more
Jul 11, 2014 Iva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an experience Anita Lobel had. She protected her younger brother, managed to survive a concentration camp and ended up in Sweden. Miraculously, the two were reunited with her parents after their release, in Sweden. Lobel had lived an upper middle class life in Krakow; had a colorful live-in and Catholic nanny who didn't like Jews or Jewish customs, but was loyal and protective of "her children". Plainly written but hugely readable make this a haunting and readable reading experience for old ...more
Gary Bernard
Jan 15, 2015 Gary Bernard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-1-12
The autobiography No Pretty Pictures presents an important story of family, faith, and finding ones self in the midst of truly horrible circumstances. Young Anita was a Jewish youth in Poland when the Nazis invaded. Her father fled the country, and young Anita was left in the care of her Jewish mother and Catholic nanny. As Anita looks back at her experiences during the war, we go with the young girl who is thrust from a simple yet prosperous life into a life living in slums in constant fear of ...more
This is a story written by a famous children's illustrator about her life as a Polish Jewish child during WWII. Five when the war started, she spent many years of the war hidden by her nanny and then the last couple in a concentration camp. After their liberation she lived Sweden for almost 10 years before her family emigrated to the United States.

I think I was surprised by the dispassionate voice of the book. One of the only parts of the book that was particularly passionate was the end when t
No Pretty Pictures: a child of war –Anita Lobel
3 stars

Anita Lobel is an award winning illustrator of children’s books. I love her artwork. I have read On Market Street and The Rose in My Garden to many groups of children. Her pictures are vibrant and full of life. Although the title prepared me, I was deeply affected by her stark, unadorned memoir of her childhood. She was barely five years old, essentially the age of children that I teach, when the Germans invaded Poland. She does not relate h
Devon Flaherty
May 17, 2016 Devon Flaherty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No Pretty Pictures: a Child f War, by Anita Lobel. Published by Greenwillow Books, New York, in 1998, with an unfortunately drab and unexceptional cover (especially considering that the author is known as a children's illustrator). The more recent 2008 reissue cover is much better.

DISCLAIMER: I do not see this as a children's or even YA book. It takes quite a bit of maturity to digest the contents.

Let's start with the author, because that is where I started. In fact, it was with her husband, the
Stephanie Plunkett

No Pretty Pictures Book Review/Summary

The summer reading book I chose was No Pretty Pictures by Anita Lobel. This book is autobiography about her family and her journey through the Holocaust with them. Anita and her family lived in Kraków, Poland, they were a successful Jewish family at the time. This autobiography takes place from the 1930's in Poland, to the event of World War 2, then to Concentration Camps, then to the death camp, Auschwitz, then to at the end where she was saved from being
No Pretty Pictures: A Child of War by Anita Lobel is a memoir of her own life. The story begins when she was five years old when the Germans march in to Karkow, Poland. Her father a religious Jew flees without his family and their mother sends them away with Niania (their nanny) she and her brother who is disguised as a girl. The two sibling embark on a turbulent journey through the Karkrow ghetto fake identities, capture and getting sent to concentration camps.

I this book I think Anita Lobel di
No pretty pictures is an autobiography about a young girl who actually lived through the holocaust. It begins with her life as a five year old, explaining what she remembers at that time. As she grows up, her stories become more detailed as she is able to remember more. She was only ten years old when she was sent to a concentration camp and was forced to take care of herself and her brother for that time. This story shows strength, bravery, and appreciation for readers, as we will never have to ...more
Caelyn Pietila
The story No Pretty Pictures, written by Anita Lobel is an autobiography of herself when she was a child. Lobel and her family were captured by Nazi’s in Poland where she lived during WWII. Anita and her brother for five days until the Nazis found them, and were then sent to a concentration camp. The book portrays Anita’s journey escaping from her miserable life, to discover and flourish off books and art. This story portrays what it was like for children to live during WWII, who were discrimina ...more
Anita Lobel is known as a Children's book illustrator not an author and I think it shows. The book is good but a bit drawn out and not very captivating. I think it would have been better if she had shortened it by quite a bit. It would have been hard since a lot happened to her in a short 10years of her life.
Nov 01, 2014 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title is perhaps mostly true. There was at least one brief period immediately after the war that was what one could describe as 'pretty' this girl survivor's life during wartime and its immediate aftermath was disrupted several times and not in pleasant ways. War's disruptions began when she was five years old and her father was taken into the Soviet Union. She and her younger brother were protected for several years by her Catholic nanny but they were eventually captured by the Nazi's and t ...more
Ben Clark
"No Pretty Pictures" was a well-paced and detailed book. It was a relatively easy read and a quick one as well. The plot follows two Jewish children and their "Niania" during the holocaust in Poland. The children were part of a rich family who lived in a large apartment until the nazis invaded and raided their home. Their father was forced to flee to Russia and later the children had to leave their mother and live in a quaint village with "Niania" for a while. After facing discrimination for bei ...more
Jun 13, 2016 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was just okay for me. I liked the story behind it but it felt that this girl was very lucky. If it's possible to have a good life in concentration camps then she got the best there was. Anita, her brother, aunt, uncle, and cousins got to take baths in a guards house, nice meals and protection there too. They also didn't have to do anything during the day like the harsh hikes the women went on. She did shave her head but that helped the lice issue. Now I am not trying to say this was a ...more
Jun 01, 2015 Julia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This book is the memoir of an already well know author and illustrator Anita Lobel. In this book she relives her difficult childhood. She grew up in the midst of war. The books starts of when she was 5 being a child hidden away from the Nazi's with her brother by their polish Nanny, and then being caught and suffering through a series of concentration camps. This book shows the strength of children, while she is separated from her parents for two years. During this time she has no-one but her br ...more
Logan Bruns
May 11, 2015 Logan Bruns rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book talks about the life of Anita Lobel from 1939-1951. Anita, and her brother, were children of war that have gone through concentration camps and adapting to new cultures. Different events that were interesting to read were when Anita and her brother were taken to Niania's christian village to escape the Nazi invasion. I also think readers would be interested in reading how Anita got taken to the Ghetto and how she escaped afterwards. Another interesting event was when Anita, and the ot ...more
Feb 23, 2009 Melanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No Pretty Pictures by Anita Lobel

WWII novel. Two children who are part jewish are trying to stay safe. They keep traveling with their nanny while their mother stays in the city. When the mother joins them in the country she ruins the whole charade and they have to move again. Eventually the children are taken to a concentration camp. When the war is over, the children are taken to Poland where they spend time at a hospital recovering from tuberculosis. They are able to find their parents through
I enjoyed reading this memoir, which is centered on the holocaust. Several parts made me feel sick inside. How could we have allowed the holocaust to happen? But it happened. This account is heartfelt, real, touching. It’s from the perspective of a young girl. I’ve read Briar Rose by Jane Yolen, but I’ve never looked at the holocaust through the eyes of a child. The introspection made this account engaging and real for me. It also encouraged me to explore more literature and accounts on the holo ...more
May 16, 2013 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2013
No Pretty Pictures: A Child of War is Anita Lobel's memoir of her time hiding away from the Nazis during WWII in Poland. The story is worth telling and reading because the horrors of the Nazis should never be forgotten. Lobel's memoir is simply written. She is not going to be known for her prose, but the simple language reflects her age during the War.

Lobel is five when her Jewish family starts hiding from the Nazis. Her father disappears shortly, and her mother keeps them safe for a while becau
Lindsay G
The book No Pretty Pictures is an amazing book about a girl named Hanasu living through the holocaust. One morning Hanasu woke up to find her father gone. When she asked her mother where he went, she regretfully informed her that her father had been taken away that night by Nazis. Hanasu thought he was going to come back, and did not know that he was taken away because he was Jewish. Hanasu had a younger brother but once their mother realized that they were in danger, he had to pretend he was a ...more
Nomonde Nyathi
“No Pretty Pictures – A Child Of War” is a memoir by Anita Lobel. In this book Anita also known as Hanusiu, finds her father being taken a way from her by the Nazis when she was five years old. Day by day life gets tough as Nazis keep driving by her house and in the neighborhood. Until one day, her nanny, her brother and herself go into hiding. Her brother is forced to pretend he's a girl and they both act as if their nanny is their mother. As they move from one home to another, their escapes ge ...more
I'm choosing to give this book 4 stars because in some ways I think it deserves 3 (it's not a gripping or compelling read) and in some ways I think it deserves 5 (in the sense that it is the perfect book for introducing WWII -- and gratitude -- to your kids).

I'm going to write about it's 5-star aspects.

First off, Anita Lobel is very well known for her children's books illustrations (she won a Caldecott Honor for "On Market Street"), but if you're anything like me you'll be shocked to hear that s
Apr 26, 2014 Rema rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Saw this on the library shelf and grabbed it to read. It's a good memoir of life as a Jewish child from a privileged family who loses everything to the Nazi's. She is hidden, apart from her parents, during World War II until she is eventually seized by the Nazi's with her brother and sent to prison and concentration camp. The author's story is realistic and not dramatized, and offers good insight into how the Nazi's characterization of Jews changed her self identity.
Anita Lobel writes her memoir describing her experiences during the Holocaust from a child's perspective. The first-person narrative is written with a sense of immediacy and vividness. Her story begins with her middle class home in Krakow, Poland. When the Nazis invade Poland, her father is forced to flee to Russia. Then Anita and her brother escape to a small town with their nanny. Finally, they end up back in Krakow, living in the ghetto with their mother before once again escaping with the na ...more
Just like the story of Annie Frank, Anita Lobel was also a young Jewish girl when World War 2 started and the Nazis came into her house. Anita was always on the run and hiding. As Anita says, " I was born on a bloody continent at the wrong place in the wrong time ". This is the story of Anita Lobel's life on the run and hiding and how the Nazis finally found them and " caught up " to them.......A child of war.
Daniel Kirijenko
One of the most interesting books for me was this one. There were so many things i liked about it that i don't even know where to start. First of all, this book was based on a story that happened in Poland, and since i speak Polish i could relate to so many words that were spoken in the story, which also brought back a bunch of memories. I always wanted to read a history book and i got really lucky on this one. It made me feel like i was going through the war, from the age of five until the age ...more
This nonfiction account of the Holocaust is told through the eyes of a girl ages 5-12. Her family lives in Krakow, Poland when the Nazi come into power. the story follows our narrator and her younger brother, from losing their family, to hiding in the countryside with their Polish nanny, to entering and then escaping the Jewish ghetto outside of Krakow, to a Benedictine convent, polish prison, Auschwitz, and finally a Swedish sanitarium for tuberculosis treatment after the war. The story is told ...more
May 20, 2016 Taylor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 07, 2012 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: eng356, books-9-16
Written from the raw and descriptive perspective of a child’s experience of the Holocaust, Lobel writes her memoir as an adult. What I loved about this version of a WWII story is that Lobel experiences all of these things, not understanding the meaning behind them. She didn’t know what the clouds of smoke were. She didn’t understand what it meant to be sent to the doctor in Auschwitz. All she knew and could describe to us as readers is what it felt like. How it felt walking through the snow to a ...more
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Anita Lobel is an illustrator of children's books. Her memoir that depicts her childhood of flight and imprisonment in Nazi-occupied Poland, ''No Pretty Pictures'' was a finalist for the National Book Award.

She has also received the Caldecott Honor Medal.
More about Anita Lobel...

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