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The Safest Lie

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  296 ratings  ·  54 reviews
This powerful historical novel tells the story of a young girl who is smuggled out of the Warsaw ghetto and struggles to both hide and hold on to her Jewish identity.

In 1940, nine-year-old Anna Bauman and her parents are among 300,000 Polish Jews struggling to survive the wretched conditions in the Warsaw ghetto. Anna draws the attention of Jolanta—the code name for the re
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published October 1st 2015 by Holiday House (first published July 10th 2015)
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Average rating 4.18  · 
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Ms. Yingling
Jul 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Anna and her family live in Poland, and when her parents realize that the ghettos are rapidly being emptied, they agree to send Anna off to the country, where she will pretend to be a Catholic orphan. Irena Sendler is the woman who chooses the children, and she places Anna in a Catholic orphanage. There, Anna learns to take care of younger children, and also learns that she must believe her fictitious back story if she is to survive. She is eventually sent to live on a farm with a family. They a ...more
I found this book to be a great introduction for younger kids to the Holocaust. The action is very fast paced (we go through 4 years of the war in 175 pages), and it doesn't dwell too much on the atrocities of war. Rather the focus is on Anna and how she had to change who she was in order to stay alive.

A very important book that handles a delicate subject wonderfully. Perfect for upper grade school or middle school kids.
Sandy Brehl
I'm familiar with the courageous woman who, along with a vast network of resistance fighters, saved the lives of 2500+ Jewish children in Poland during WWII. This novel allows readers to experience the horrifying reality of those times through the life of a young Jewish girl. In doing so abstract numbers and reports are personalized, allowing readers to imagine living the same experiences. Young Anna's experience was less traumatic than some, but even so she lived with constant fear, loneliness, ...more
Jill Farr
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really loved this book, but the ending?!? I need closure.
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
The tension is really palpable in this. As an adult reader, I was suspicious of every grownup in the book, as a kid who went through this of course had to be, too. There is some sentimentality in this, but not so much that it sort of glamorizes the sadness. The author’s note is worth reading, as it provides more historical context and emotional weight to an already heavy story.
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Anna lives with her mother and father in the Polish ghetto during WW2. After a teacher helps her escape, Anna has to learn another identity and adapt to a life of hiding that she is Jewish. She lives in a Catholic orphanage and is then taken in by members of the Polish resistance.

A great choice for students in 5th and 6th grade reading at higher levels. The story is clearly told while being packed with details. Nearly all of Anna's family end up in concentration camps, which are mentioned but n
Heartbreaking historical account of a very dark time that must be known. This is based on the work of Irena Sendler and multiple others who laid their lives on the line to rescue children from the horrors of the camps. Their selflessness is such a stark contrast to the appalling animalistic behavior of the German Nazi machine. These stories are so awful, I wonder why I read them. This quote by Irena Sendler sums up why: "There are humane aspects that are extremely important to developing values: ...more
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was another book included in the Battle of the Books, so I read so that I could discuss with my granddaughter. I was surprised that it was an Elementary School recommendation. It was an excellent book about a young Jewish girl who was living in a Warsaw ghetto. Her parents work to have her smuggled out, but she has to take on a new identity as a Catholic.

I wondered at the choice for elementary children. I found it to be hard to read and can't help but wonder how it would affect kids who hav
Fabulous historical fiction about a Jewish girl rescued from the Warsaw ghetto and brought to an Catholic orphanage. Personalized what must have been a terrifying and horrible experience-albeit better than the alternative of staying in the ghetto. The quandary-forget your past (and what makes you you) in order to be safe, or hold on to your memories and risk exposing yourself to the enemy. Shocking. And to learn about Irena Sendler and her heroism rescuing 2500 children was inspiring.
Jun 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Overall, this book was good. It definitely gave me a feel of how life was back in that time, but I was very confused at some parts. The author didn’t really explain all the changes and secrecy, so I almost felt as confused as Anna. Good book, awful ending. I even checked the last few pages again to make sure that there weren’t any more pages. It seemed as if there should’ve been another chapter! 3/5
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-2019-bes
This book tells the story of a young Jewish girl during the Holocaust in a way that will teach younger students about how terrible that time period was without scarring them. It’s a hard line to tread but Cerrito manages to do it.

It’s not my personal favorite book that deals with the Holocaust but I think it’s an important read for the younger generation.
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Nice story of how a Warsaw Ghetto family decided to send their daughter away with Irena Sendler. Her cousin was eventually sent to a camp with other family members, and a reunion at the end of the book shows a bit of the differences in their lives. Hard to imagine what these children went through, especially the ones too young to remember who they were born as.
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What was the toll on the children who were hidden as Catholics in Poland during the Nazi occupation? This book explores the viewpoint of a girl who took on an identity until the end of the war and the chance for reunification with her family.
Jill Cd
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
An amazing story about the Holocaust and what it took to survive as a child. An excellent read for middle school history buffs.
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a very safe introduction into the Holocaust from the perspective of a 9 year old girl and how she ends up surviving.
Michele Cirrincione
BES nominee 2018-19
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another look into what some kids went through during the Holocaust. Well written and engaging.
Michele Kain
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was upper elementary for sure and not upbeat.
Kristina Jean Lareau
A decent read, though a bit slow.
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Historical fiction about a Jewish girl hidden during the holocaust.
Mrs. Porter
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Anna’s voice was so strong and clear I felt as if I was there with her. An excellent selection for elementary art and middle school.
Alex  Baugh
Jul 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-2
On the day that Jolanta brings a little food, some used clothing and a few vaccinations against typhoid fever to 9 year old Anna Bauman's youth circle in the Warsaw Ghetto, she decides to go home with Anna. Quietly talking to her parents, Anna knows something is up.

After Jolanta drops off a paper for Anna's mother one morning, she begins to stay home as her mother makes her memorize a new name and other information. Soon, she is no longer Jewish Anna Bauman, rather she is Catholic Anna Karwolska
Jb Warren
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Safest Lie is the story of nine-year-old Anna Bauman, a Jewish girl living in Nazi occupied Poland during WW2. Anna and her parents have been evicted from their comfortable home with its piano, radio, comfy beds and an apple tree in the yard, and forced to share a room with strangers inside the Warsaw ghetto. One day Anna is offered a chance to escape and is smuggled outside by a network of extraordinary, brave individuals. After spending a year hiding in a Catholic orphanage, Anna is taken ...more
Dec 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a quick-paced novel that addressed the many issues that children faced during this time in history. It showed the love and the resignation that parents confronted as they realized that they no longer had control of their family’s circumstances as the war advanced on them. These parents knew that their best option was to have their children placed in another homes, away from them, as their chances of survival were greater if they were not seen as being in a Jewish community. What a sacri ...more
Against her father's wishes, nine-year-old Anna Bauman is smuggled out of the Warsaw ghetto as conditions in Poland worsen. Thanks to Jolanta, one of the names used by Resistance heroine Irene Sendler, a new identity and safe place for Anna have been made available. Now Anna must forget her past identity and become Anna Karwolska if she has any hope of surviving. The author describes the conflicts Anna faces as she doesn't want to lie and yet knows that revealing that she is Jewish will likely r ...more
Aug 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received this from a giveaway! Thank you!

This was hard for me to get into because it was very, very easy to read and it was in the mindset of a young girl. But I did get into it eventually and I'm glad I won this book. :)

The main character is Anna Bauman who eventually becomes Anna Karwolska. The story description on the back of the book is telling you that Anna is having a hard time trying to STAY Anna Bauman. I don't think that is exactly what the story reveals really. The character is sort
Teresa Bateman
Jul 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Few Jews escaped the Warsaw ghetto, but 9-year-old Anna was one of the lucky ones--if it is luck to lose your family and go into hiding until the war ends. Shuffled from one place to another she finally winds up in a loving home. Still, her true identity must remain hidden and there is constant danger. She clings to the teachings of her parents. But when the war ends what will be left for her? This is a well-written, heart-touching story based on the actions of Irena Sendler, who saved many chil ...more
I received The Safest Lie as a goodreads give away. This is an excellent book. The Safest Lie is a historical fiction based on the children smuggled out of the Polish Ghetto during the second world war by Jolanta (code name for a real Resistance spy Irena Sendler who helped so many Jewish children escape the Nazis). Anna Bauman is given a new name and false papers and must keep her true identity secret from all that she meets. She is taken to a Catholic orphanage and then to a foster home. She m ...more
Jul 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-waw-options
This historical fiction WAW possibility was a really interesting but sad aspect of the Holocaust I hadn't realized. And that is that LOTS of Jewish children escaped WWII with new identities only to forget their real identities and have trouble finding their way back at the end of the war. Plus since so many of their families died, there was no one to help them back to their real identities. Anyway, this story is about Anna who forces herself to remember her past every night as she goes to sleep. ...more
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While writing The Safest Lie, I conducted research in Warsaw, Poland. In addition to reviewing testimonies of Jewish children recorded at the end of the war, I was honored to interviewe Irena Sendler who was a member of the Polish resistance group Zegota and in charge of the child rescue operations from the Warsaw ghetto.

Currently a resident of Georgia, I was born in Michigan and earned two degree

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