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The Safest Lie

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  232 ratings  ·  49 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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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
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another look into what some kids went through during the Holocaust. Well written and engaging.
Michele Cirrincione
Jun 29, 2018 rated it liked it
BES nominee 2018-19
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.
Shirley Holler
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great story
Alex (not a dude) 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
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
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
Nov 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
This first person narrative about little Anna who had to change her identity to escape the Germans was heartbreaking. To be so young and to endure so much at that young age, to struggle with remembering who you really are, and worrying that in your dreams your sleep may sabotage your hard work at hiding who you really are... Poor Anna really had a trial to endure and endure she did. This young girl experienced and witnessed so much at such a young age. Read to the end and read the author's note ...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
Mariya Shareef
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED THIS BOOK! I love books with pain and especially war zones. This book had a lot of details and the experiences of Anna, a Jewish girl who has to lie to save herself. Her lie was her identity. She changes her name and some stories to make others believe she isn't who she really is. She is no longer Jewish but Catholic in desperation for survival. She leaves Poland, she leaves her home and her family behind and is forced by the current circumstances to be in a catholic orphanage and ends u ...more
Debbie Tanner
This is a story about a girl named Anna who's family is living in the ghetto in Warsaw during World War 2. Things are terrible there and one day Anna's mother tells her she needs to memorize a new name, a new birthday, a new home town... and then Anna is taken from her parents to live with strangers. Anna tries to keep remembering her old life, but finds safe places to live during the war. It would be good matched up with The Butterfly by Patricia Polacco. Jars of hope by Jennifer Roy is a pictu ...more
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book presented an aspect of the Holocaust that I have never before read in such detail and with such emotion. The author skillfully leads the reader through a nine-year-olds journey from being a Jewish daughter living in the Warsaw ghetto to becoming an orphan with a changed name and behavior reciting Catholic prayers and signing Catholic songs in an orphanage to becoming a foster daughter in a Christian family. The reader can feel the loss of loved ones, personal identity, and Jewish herit ...more
Kelsey Buckley
This Holocaust story is told from a unique perspective - a young girl (Anna) whose parents send her away from their Polish ghetto to take on a new identity and hopefully life. It was a beautiful story and based on carefully researched information.

Many of my students enjoy stories about World War II and the Holocaust, and I can see them enjoying this novel if they can get past the not-so-great cover, tiny margins, and small font.
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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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