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My Family for the War

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  1,895 ratings  ·  308 reviews
Winner of the Mildred L. Batchelder medal for most oustanding children's book in translation.

Escaping Nazi Germany on the kindertransport changes one girl's life forever

At the start of World War II, ten-year-old Franziska Mangold is torn from her family when she boards the kindertransport in Berlin, the train that secretly took nearly 10,000 children out of Nazi territory
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published February 16th 2012 by Dial Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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4.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,895 ratings  ·  308 reviews

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Almost eleven-year-old Franziska Mangold sees herself as a typical German girl living in Berlin in 1938. She doesn't understand why she had to leave her school with two Jewish classmates or why boys who were once friends taunt her and beat her. She's not Jewish! All 4 grandparents became Protestant in the last century. She doesn't understand what being Jewish means. Ziska's best friend Bekka knows. She knows being Jewish means she needs a survival plan. Bekka and Ziska map out every escape route ...more
Alex (not a dude) Baugh
Mar 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-2
For a short time between December 2,1938 and September 1, 1939, trainloads of Jewish children under the age of 17 were sent from Germany to Great Britain for safety. Altogether, almost 10,000 children and teens made the trip. My Family for the War is a novel about how the Kindertransport changed the life of one child.

Frnaziska Mangold,10, thought of herself as a Protestant girl living a comfortable life in Berlin. Her family, originally Jewish, had converted generations ago, and though she consi
Erin Reilly-Sanders
I absolutely loved this one, perhaps because I am so fascinated with portrayals of religious groups that aren’t frequently portrayed in American children’s literature. The contrasts between being ethnically Jewish, culturally Jewish, and religiously Jewish even span the portrayals of four different Jewish families in two different countries. This does an excellent job of showing a wide variety of different ways of being, even within one religious/ethnic group. The story itself is great as well- ...more
Amanda Snow
Mar 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade, 2012
Originally published at

When WWII begins, 10-year-old Franziska's family is terrified for their safety. Choosing to be separated while awaiting passage out of Nazi Germany for their entire family, they place Franziska on the kindertransport, a train taking Jewish children to Britain to stay with foster families until Germany becomes safe again. She doesn't understand why she has to go, since her family doesn't even practice Judaism and she wears a cross around her neck!

Mar 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
The winner of the Mildred Batchelder Award, given to the most outstanding children’s book originally published in a language other than English in a country other than the United States, and subsequently translated into English for publication in the United States. The book tells the story of 11-year-old Ziska whose family has been Protestant for generations but because of her Jewish heritage (which she is mostly unaware of) must flee Nazi Germany via one of the secret trains called kindertransp ...more
Mar 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
During the midst of the Nazi initial persecution of the Jews, but before travel was prohibited, Jewish children were sent from Germany to England on a Kindertransport. Using this as her backdrop, Anne Voorhoeve puts Franziska a young German in the midst of this turmoil. Unlike other refugees, Frances (as she is known in England) is a Protestant. Her grandparents converted and so she doesn't consider herself Jewish. Not knowing the traditions and beliefs of the religion makes the experience even ...more
Stacey Cross
Feb 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An amazing tale of love, hope, survival, perseverance, devastation and loss. 'My Family for the War', set in Europe during WWII, shows yet another side to the many stories of Jewish persecution and turmoil. Franziska(or Ziska or Frances) is a young girl of Jewish descent who leaves Nazi Germany via kindertransport and travels to London where she anxiously awaits a foster family to take her in. To her surprise and by mere accident Ziska 'runs into' an amazing Jewish family who opens their home an ...more
Valerie Lurquin
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was an incredible story about family, friendship, and courage. A young girl named Ziska must be separated from her parents during the onset of World War II and the Holocaust. Her friends are taken from her and she is turned on at school by her peers because she is Jewish. Her best friend, Bekka, and herself came up with a survival plan in case anything were to happen to them. This plan came in handy when her apartment was raided. Ziska's father is taken to a concentration camp by the Nazis ...more
Feb 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I don't read a lot of historical fiction. I have no idea why, but whenever I do, the book I read is always amazing. 'My Family for the War' was no exception. It documents part of the life of Franziska Mangold, who is put on a kindertransport to England in order to escape persecution in Germany, despite not being a Jew, only having Jewish ancestors. In England, Franziska changes her name to Frances, and meets many challenges while attempting to assimilate into British society. I honestly have no ...more
Jul 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
Audience: Intermediate

Genre: Historical Fiction

Who is Franziska Mangold?

Why does Ziska, and the other children of the Kindertransport, go to England?

Applying: Like Ziska, have you ever felt like a bad friend even though the situation was completely out of your control?

Compare/contrast the relationship Ziska had with Mamu and with her host-mother, Amanda.

How would you have felt if you knew you had to leave your family in order to stay safe? Would yo
Aug 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: historical fiction loves, 10 and up
Recommended to C. by: My friend
This is definately one of my favorite books! I really enjoy books that take place during wars! I recommend it for anyone who is... idk, 10 and up? It's really good, and although it doesn't have a TON of action/romance/adventure, it's really a human interest novel that is SUPER interesting!

So, a brief summary of the story is that it's about a young German girl who is persecuted because of her Jewish roots. And so, she is sent to live in England with a foster family through Kindertransport. THe st
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Audience: Intermediate
Genre: Historical Fiction

Remembering: What is the program called that took Ziska to England?

Understanding: How would you compare Mamu and Amanda?

Applying: What would have happened if Bekka had made it to England to live with Ziska and the Shepards?

Analyzing: What conclusions can you draw about Hitler's views of the Jews?

Evaluating: Based on what you know, how would you explain the ceremony with the wreath in the epilogue?

Creating: How would you rewrite the scene between Zis
An historical young adult book describing the life of a teenage girl that was sent on a kindertransport from Germany to England during World War II. Loved it!
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
this book was a great look at the holocaust from a very different angle. it was very well written
Allie R
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Although Franziska (Ziska) is not Jewish, she has Jewish ancestors. Therefore, her family is at risk during the Nazi rule in their hometown of Berlin. To keep her daughter safe, Ziska’s mother sends Ziska away as a child refugee to England. In England, Ziska lives with an Orthodox Jewish family. She soon bonds with her new ‘brother’, ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’. Ziska adopts a new English name, Frances, and begins to assimilate to her new family’s way of life, including learning English and practicing Ortho ...more
Nicole M
Ziska, a ten-year-old girl, lives in Berlin as Hitler and the Nazis are rising to power. Ziska's family follows Protestant religious practices, but somewhere in their religious history, their family practice Judaism, which made Ziska and her family very unpopular in her neighborhood. As Hitler gains more and more power, Ziska's Papa is taken from their home and placed in a concentration camp. Ziska is then sent to England on a Kindertransport to stay with a foster family. This new foster family ...more
Ivy Shi
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was part of my assignment for A Long Walk to Water. When I first got this book, I thought that it would be boring and dull. However, as I continued reading, I realized that it was deep and filled with stories that I can make connection to a long walk to water. One of the connections is that both Ziska and Salva had to flee their home country due to excessive fighting in their area. They had to give up their family to go with people they don’t know in order to be safe and away from the ...more
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Holocaust stories are endlessly compelling and varied - this one focuses on a kindertransport child who arrives in London just in time for the Blitz. Her gradual adaptation to a new family and the losses she suffers makes for a bittersweet novel of growing up and surviving.
Tammy J
Sep 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow what a moving story. The entire book I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen. I felt sorry for Frances. She has a tough life. It's crazy to think that during a war so many things can change and affect everything. She moves and then has to move again and things just keep happening. The host family is so sweet but she is torn because she has her own family that she is unable to see. She tries so hard to get them to be with her and does secret things. I am not even sure wh ...more
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book really gets the reader thinking about how other people are treated in the world even today, and even about how they might have reacted to the situation. Multiple times I caught myself thinking about what I would have done differently or if I would have got myself in that situation to begin with.
I enjoy historical fiction and thought that this was a pretty good representation of World War II and what a little Jewish girl might have had to go through at this time.
With any topic such as
Ann Woodbury Moore
Jun 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
This young adult title about World War II is translated from the German, providing an unusual twist to traditional war tales. In February 1939 11-year-old Franziska Mangold's parents send her from Berlin to London on a kindertransport, much against her will. Her first foster parents never show up, and after three weeks Ziska--newly christened Frances--finds a home with the well-to-do Shepards. The Shepards are observant Jews; Frances' grandparents had converted to Protestantism and she knows not ...more
Melissa Barbier
This book has so many twists and turns while teaching the reader about many details of World War II that are not commonly known. The main character is persecuted and discriminated against in Germany for being Jewish even though her parents were raised Protestant and so was she. Her grandparents were Jewish and converted many years ago and so her family is still considered to be Jewish.

With the setting in Germany while WWII is just beginning, this book offers a new viewpoint that I have not seen
Jan 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: world-war-ii
Whenever I give a prayer to the victims of the Holocaust, I also make sure to include every single person who was prejudiced and deeply affected by the horrors that came with it. Not only the innocent lives that were taken, but also the survivors such as Frances's Mamu were haunted with what they experienced for the rest of their lives never finding peace. The book I have finished this afternoon on International Holocaust Remembrance Day has reminded me.

This was a beautifully translated book. Un
Ziska was only 10 years old at the start of the story. She was raised as a thought of Protestant living in Berlin when Hitler came to power and began to single out families with Jewish blood. Her family was Jewish, but had converted lived as Christians, but the Nazis did not see them as Christians, but Jews. Marked as a Jew, life has become dangerous and had to hide from other children so she and her friend Bekka would not be beat up. Ziska and Bekka’s parents registered the children for the Kin ...more
Feb 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I seem to be reading a lot of WW2-related books lately, and I don't know how that happened. (And there's two more to pick up at the library on Saturday)

This one, goodness. It's about a young Jewish girl who's brought to Britain via the kindertransport, a series of trains/boats that secretly sent nearly 10,000 Jewish children to the UK (with their parents/guardians permission, of course.) Somehow, despite all my reading and daily Jeopardy watching, I've never heard of this. Naturally, the se
Alysha Rummler
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I could gush about this book all day! It is beautifully written, captivating, and so historically accurate, which makes me incredibly happy. I could not put it down!
Voorhoeve weaves a story about a young girl who lived in Germany, but was able to get out a few months before WWII started. As she deals with guilt and the war in England, she grows and learns. I'm almost crying just thinking about it. The story is sad, like all WWII books are, but it is a message of hope and change. It is so incred
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The author, Anne C. Voorhoeve has written several novels for young adults. This book was first written in German and then was translated to English. So glad it was. The story is about Franziska Mangold. She is not Jewish but in Hitler's eyes she it. Interesting what happened to the youth as their parents tried to get them away from the Nazis and Jew haters. What a time to be alive as a young girl and grow up during war. I learned more about England and their challenges during that time. Very goo ...more
Lola G
Apr 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My Family for the War tells the story of Franziska Mangold through WWII Europe. At first she lives in Germany but her father is in a concentration camp and her mother did not want to evacuate without him so she sends Ziska to England to live with another family on the kindertransport. The book tells her story from the time she is 10 until 19. The characters were fictional but the story was based on what really happened.
I loved this book and couldn't put it down.

Nov 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Beehive Nominee. This just gave another portrait of the war, but I learned something new as I didn't know about kinder-transports of children out of Germany and I maybe hadn't realized that people who were christians, but had Jewish blood in their family line - were still considered and treated as the Jews who were practicing. It did not matter. This was a sweet story.
Katy Vance
AMAZING. What a wonderful book. It's long, but that's because it sweeps over all of World War II. I loved, loved, loved it. Highly recommended. it would be an excellent text for a humanities or languages class, as well as an easy choice for a book talk. There's something for everyone: love, death, family, war, drama, romance, history... It is an epic.
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