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The Earth is Singing

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  759 ratings  ·  129 reviews
My Name is Hanna Michelson. I am fifteen. I am Latvian.

I live with my mother and grandmother. My father is missing - taken by the Russians.

I have a boyfriend. When he holds my hand, everything feels perfect.

I'm training to be a dancer. But none of that matters now.

Because the Nazis have arrived, and I am a Jew. And as far as they are concerned, that is all that matters.
Paperback, re-issue, 336 pages
Published February 7th 2019 by Usborne Publishing (first published January 12th 2015)
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Ruby Tuesday
May 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: holocaust-wwii
4.5 stars
I purchased this book not realising that it is intended for Young Readers. I read a lot of Holocaust literature and have to say that this is an excellent read for those new to the subject as well as young readers. The authors family originated from Latvia so the book is set in Riga following the story of her Hanna, a student at a ballet school when the Russian Occupation of Riga ends and the Nazi's invade. Whilst this is a work of fiction it is based on actual events and covers topics s
Dec 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing

This is the story about three women from one Jewish family at the time when the Nazi's invade their town. This is a remarkable well told story that both astonishes and is heartbreaking while being beautiful written. These three strong women from three generations are to be admired,they are resilient , smart and courageous , it was a pleasure reading about them and the emotions and struggles they went through, you really feel for these people. There were moments I had a lump in my throat and I th
Dec 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
I can't say i enjoyed this book because of the horrible subject matter but i am glad i read it. I would read sequel if the author wrote one.
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2015
This book was heartbreaking and eye opening. All throughout I was so worried for the characters, and it was so tense that I couldn't cry until the end where I burst into tears. It was beautifully written and so emotional. Every person needs to read this book, so they know never to repeat history.
May 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Why do I repeatedly pick books that are truly awful? Not the way it's written, not the characters portrayed, but the series of events that once again leave me feeling hollow, and shaking my head. How did humanity do that?

'The Earth is Singing' is the story of Hanna, a Jewish girl, who lives in Latvia during the Second World War. Because I've read quite a few other books about Jews set during this time, I knew things wouldn't be alright, I knew their hopes of a better life under the Nazis wouldn'
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Disclaimer: A physical copy was provided via UsBorne YAin exchange for an exchange review. The Thoughts, opinions & feelings expressed in the review are therefore, my own.

Trigger Warnings: Violent Visuals, Humiliation, Mass Murders and Violence

To say this book is an enjoyable read would be all kinds of wrong; but The Earth Is Singing is definitely an impactful read

With the background of Hitler’s growing empire and crucification of Jews; I
Toni Vincett
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Even though this is a story it still hits home that something like this had happened. It was well written there was points for me I was in tears. Which for me is a big thing as no book really has ever made me cry. I have read a lot of books on holocaust and everyone has haunted me a way. This even tho is a story will stick with me.
Feb 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
When Hanna’s story starts, she has a promising future as a ballerina, training at the city’s ballet school. She has a boyfriend who she thinks is perfect. She is just a normal teenage girl in a beautiful city. Yes, the Russians are there, but they cope. Knowing the history, it’s a heart breaking moment when the people of Riga welcome the Germans because they have got rid of the Russians.

Soon, Hanna’s friends turn away from her, calling her a dirty Jew. She can no longer take pleasure in her danc
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh. My. Goodness.
This book is possibly one of the best books I have ever read. It presents a darker perspective on the horrifying things that took place in the Ghettos during Nazi Germany.
We can rarely understand the feelings the Jews had and the situations they found themselves in; the whole story brought a tear to my eye.
Hanna is just a normal girl, who's life seems pleasant, until one day.
I could talk about this book all day, but I'll find myself reiterating the fact that it is BRILLIANT. A
Dan-Andrei Pacurar
Dec 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"It is the Sabbath so we sit around our box-table and offer up prayers to God but it is difficult to focus on a God you cannot see when the sounds and smells of danger and fear are all around"

"The Latvian soldiers have filled in the grave with earth but they must have failed to aim their shots as accurately as it seemed. The earth is singing. Moans and cries filter their way up into the cold air. The earth is moving."

"What sort of world is this?" he says. "Where little children are shot like ra
Gillian Cohen
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such a powerful, heart breaking and inspiring book. I’ve heard stories from my own family and fellow survivors. I’ve read books, but something about this particular book really hit home for me.

I am not afraid of who I am, where I have come from and I will never forget
Apr 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, favorites
I equally love and hate this book and it hurts.
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Earth is Singing is probably one of the hardest topics anyone can talk about or an author can write about. This story’s follows a girl named Hannah Michelson, 15 year old Latvian during 1940. She is training her whole life to be a ballet dancer with a boyfriend named Uldis. The Russian have taken her father and she is confused why but he made Hannah promise always take care of her mother and her grandmother. Everything changed, she was confused on why and what did they do to deserve everythi ...more
James Smith
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I picked this up, I wasn’t sure what to expect from it but just had a feeling that I had to read it. This is one of most engaging Young Adult books that I’ve read, one because of the storytelling within it, and two because of the subject matter. I’ve got to say that l, despite knowing a fair bit on the Holocaust, I never knew the impact in Latvia. This is a truly moving and important story that everyone should read.
Abigail Mason
Jun 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This story is about when the nazis arrived in Latvia and follows the story of a 15 year old girl called Hanna Michelson who is a Jew. It is a historical fiction book based on real lives. The author makes you feel sadness, happiness and fear for what might happen. The author makes you feel like Hanna is a real person who is writing the story. This book may be hard hitting for children as it faces the realities of what happened to the Jews however there are happy moments.
Jan 23, 2020 rated it liked it
At the start of the book it was was not that interesting or not want to put it down worthy. However as the book went on it got better and more enjoyable (I don’t know if that’s the right word for a book about the holocaust) and I didn’t want to put it down. All the close misses and losses for Hanna were heartbreaking and it did bring it back about how lucky we all are. I do however wish that we found out what happened after the ending as we do not get given any suggestion as to what happens.
Rebecca Crunden
Jun 11, 2020 marked it as to-read
I just picked up a copy of this - my first time in a bookshop since lockdown began in March! IT WAS A MOMENT. I haven't gone that long without going to a bookshop or library in ... EVER.

Can't wait to get into this one!
Julie Reynolds
May 29, 2019 rated it liked it
:-(. That is all. It’s just too sad and utterly horrifying.
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Heartbreaking and tragic, but told in such a way that real clarity is provided from a YA perspective. The true horror of this horrendous time is told so well by this author. Would definitely recommend.
I wanted to like this book, I really do. I read this as I finished The Silver Music Box which was magnificent and I had really enjoyed it so much. I thought, surely this book will be around as good as The Silver Music Box, right? Well, unfortunately it did not come close one bit. I understand that this book uses a first person narration, and our dear narrator is a 15 year old girl at the start of the book. So, it came as not a surprise to me that her views are that of a  much younger girl, who s ...more
Zoe Hall
Oct 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars
WOW! This book gets 5 stars from me for a number of reasons:

1) This is one of those YA books that you forget is written for a YA audience.
2) The writing is superb. It is visceral and beautiful all in one breath.
3) Everyone knows what happened during World War II. Nazi occupied Latvia is at the centre of the story.
4) We feel the characters' anguish as we take their journey with them. Hanna and her family are moved from camp to camp, and at one point are looking their fate directly in the eyes.
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I did struggle reading this book. It starts off quite young reader friendly in the simple way it was written. The violence and horror towards the end left me reeling, especially as the reason for the title became apparent. It's hard to give an age range, I think 14+ depending on the student.
Louise Douglas
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: paperback
Every once in a while, you read a book that completely breaks you. And this was it for me. I read this book in one train journey from London to Leeds, and I was full out crying on the train from the horrors that were written inside.

I cried because these horrors were real. Things that actually happened less than 2 generations ago. Things that should not be forgotten, lest we repeat them.

The book follows a young girl called Hanna, who lives in Latvia with her mother and grandmother. Her father has
Adele Broadbent
May 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There have been many books written about the horror of the Holocaust, and The Earth is Singing is particularly heart wrenching. And all the while, I’m thinking, ‘How can this have happened?’ though I know it is all terrifyingly true.

Unlike many holocaust novels, this story isn’t set in the terrible camps like Belsen, or Auschwitz, but in the city of Riga – capital of Latvia. It shows the Germans arriving and taking control, and changing the lives of the Jewish citizens so badly, that thousands p
Matej Krajnc
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Readable, wakes your emotions, especial hate. I was expecting it was written according to real happening, but there are too many unreal coincidences.
Matilda Leonard
Mar 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anybody who enjoys crying

'The Latvian soldiers have filled in the grave with earth but they must have failed to aim their shots as accurately as it seemed. The earth is singing. Moans and cries filter their way up into the cold air. The earth is moving.'

This way this book was written was innocent all the way through- and it fooled me until the very end. I was convinced that she'd find a way to stay with Uldis. That she'd find her father. That somehow, even when all seemed lost, that they would escape. I trusted Hanna's
Nov 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Oh man. This book was cruel but necessary. Sigh. I'm only this reactive (but humans are only this reactive) when faced with events of the lowest. The lowest of the low.


I still wish I knew whether Max and Hanna were together in the end. And whether Papa's alive. The ending is quite unexpected - after you've been hearing about the barbarity of the SS and Latvian soldiers the entire book, and feeling sick at their treatment of the Jews, it turns everything on its shoulders. Hanna blamed he
Oct 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Books like this are so important. I'll say it about nearly every book I read that deals with the events of World War II; these are the stories that need to be told, that authors must continue to write, whether fact or fiction, or based on fact.

The Earth is Singing is the heart-wrenching tale of Hanna, a Latvian Jew, and her family. A family that is prosecuted purely because of their religion. It is both terribly sad and full of hope, a common theme I have found within these types of books, and
Lucy Joyce
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Woah where to even start. This book dealt with such a horrible subject extremely well. The author told the story of the holocaust through the eyes of a fifteen year old and the story was told incredibly well. Every chapter of this book is packed with emotion, you can feel the terror and the helplessness of the characters. The writing was captivating, i felt like i was Hanna when i was reading. And the characters themselves felt so real and their relationships felt so real. Character relationship ...more
Dec 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-of-2018
Without any context whatsoever, this book is gutwrenching to read. As someone who has lived in Riga, walked these streets, and experienced this area of the world where the wartime scars have healed but are still visible, I could only read this book in small doses. In terms of genre (young adult protagonist and a YA look to the writing and cover but very very mature in theme) it is very similar to Ruta Sepetys "Salt to the Sea" - another favorite. However, the tragedy, suffering, and injustice ne ...more
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I'm a children's author whose first book 'Zelah Green: Queen of Clean' is published by Egmont UK and won the Manchester Children's Book Awards 2010. It was also shortlisted for the 2010 Young Minds, the 2009 Waterstones Children's Book Prize, the NASEN awards and the 2010 Bolton Children's Book Awards. I now write historical novels for young adults, including the Carnegie-longlisted 'The Earth is ...more

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