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Somewhere There Is Still a Sun: A Memoir of the Holocaust
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Somewhere There Is Still a Sun: A Memoir of the Holocaust

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  768 ratings  ·  130 reviews
Resilience shines throughout Michael Gruenbaum’s “riveting memoir” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) about his time in the Terezin concentration camp during the Holocaust, in this National Jewish Book award finalist and Parents Choice Gold Medal Award–winning title, an ideal companion to the bestselling Boy on the Wooden Box.

Michael “Misha” Gruenbaum enjoyed a carefree
Paperback, 384 pages
Published April 25th 2017 by Aladdin (first published August 25th 2015)
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Jordan Huber I am ten years old and thoroughly enjoyed this book. I would say nine and up could read this, but I read in a college grade level and may be wrong.
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Average rating 4.27  · 
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Lisa Nagel
Jul 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most powerful books I have read in a long time. Todd Hasak-Lowy set out to work with Michael Gruenbaum and to write a different kind of Holocaust book. Not just a story like so many other Holocaust books, but a book that would "read like a person living through those events at that time." He succeeds beautifully. The fact that you can hear this voice of Michael so clearly, does make the reader connect in a way I have not seen before in a holocaust memoir, other than perhaps the "Diary ...more
Deeply affecting and moving memoir from a survivor of the Terezin concentration camp during the Holocaust. Crafted in the present tense, the events bring an immediacy and intimacy to this story, as if it is unfolding before the readers' very eyes. We too are unsure of what is about to happen, unaware of the horrors awaiting Michael and his family, hopeful - ever hopeful - that his story will never be repeated nor forgotten. Essential purchase, grades 6-9.
Joey O'Daniel
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started this book back in November and finished before the month ended. It was a really good book telling into the life of a kid during the Holocaust. I recommend this book to any people who want to learn more about the hard times that fell on the people who were sent to concentration camps. It also a good book of showing what people during these times lost.
Gabrielle Lindsly
This book is a great insight into the life of a Jewish boy in Terezin. I am using this book as a read aloud for a class of sixth graders and they are so invested and interested in what is going to happen next. There are a few parts that do go over their heads, but I feel that my class is mature enough to handle the content and have deeper conversations about the events that take place.
Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dcf-2016-2017
A powerful memoir of a young Jewish boy and his family during the Holocaust. We must never forget.
MC Bailey
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 29, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, holocaust, wwii
After having taught the Holocaust through literature to my 8th grade students for a couple of years, I have a keen interest in anything Holocaust and World War II related. So when I came across this book, I knew I wanted to read it.

In this first-hand account of the author’s childhood in Prague and then in the concentration camp of Terezin, the reader is exposed to yet another grisly aspect of the Holocaust. While Terezin was not a death camp and not completely a work camp, it was a miserable
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A view of the war I hadn't seen before. I had heard of the "nice" concentration camps Nazi's showed to the Red Cross so it was fascinating to hear about it from someone who lived through it. I am still amazed, no matter how many WWII books I read, about how these things happened. Like the co-author said, "these stories are about absolutely real things that happened to absolutely real people". That really hit me. What if their story was my story? It's almost terrifying to think about, as a person ...more
Sally Andrews
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was actually written for junior high-aged kids, which I didn't know until I opened it. But I read it anyway because I'm kind of on a World War II/history kick right now. It's FABULOUS. One man looks back through time to tell the story of his experience losing his father, being sent to a 'camp,' and of how his mother bravely saved the family.

Truly incredible book, even if it is written for youth. It's extremely tasteful while giving the facts about Nazis and their horrific treatment of
A memoir by Michael Gruenbaum of his experiences in Prague and the Terezin concentration camp. Although this is written for young people with accessible text, this is still an intense description of events. A powerful introduction for middle grade and young adult readers that is life-affirming.
Aug 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An important book, and very well done.
Valerie McEnroe
I've read quite a few Holocaust books, but this one is different. This memoir is about Terezin, a Czech concentration camp that was the false model used to dupe the Red Cross and world into believing all prisoners were being treated humanely. Though it wasn't a paradise, they got to keep their belongings, wear their own clothes, participate in theatrical performances, and roam the grounds. Their barracks had water and latrines. The only deaths were from "natural" causes. Most of the guards were ...more
Alan Hooten
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Twelve-year-old boys should be playing soccer. They should be going on walks with their fathers. They should be going to school and helping around the house. That’s what they should be doing. And in 1939, that’s what Michael (Misha) Gruenbaum does in Prague.

But soon, a new government takes over, and new laws begin to slowly take this life from him. As a Jewish family, Michael, his father, his mother and his older sister watch helplessly as their rights as people and citizens of the city begin
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: signed, young-adult
This isn't your standard Holocaust book. It doesn't tell horror stories of Nazis, or shocking portrayals of labor camps. That all happens behind the scenes, but this is a story of Misha, a Jewish boy who had only a vague idea of why his life was changing.

They were a fairly well-to-do family, until Misha's father is taken away by the SS. Soon after, Misha and his mother are transferred to Terezin, a concentration camp.

You're Misha Gruenbaum and you live on Kozi Street in the Jewish ghetto,
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Michael Gruenbaum writes a fantastic book. This book has you observe humanity, and how we treat each other. Through this book, we watch as Michael's life goes from the perfect world, to a grief stricken story.
This memoir of the Holocaust starts when Michael is 9 nine years of age. He is relatively young when the Nazi’s invade his hometown of Prague, and he doesn’t think much of it for a while. Until he notices the subtle changes of Prague. Being Jewish, he has to deal with all the rules and
PERSONAL REVIEW: This is a book that will stay with me for a long time. I kept wanting it to be fiction...and then I would remember that it was a memoir of a real person who lived through these events. Tense, and real. I hate to say I 'loved' it, but I will say that I truly believe that it deserves a five-star rating.

I want to have all of my students read it...but I am not sure I am up to the discussions that would follow as a middle-aged, middle-class white woman. The ability
Teri Reck
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, an incredibly powerful book for young adults, but really a great read for adults as well. The story of Mischa Gruenbaum, a young Jewish boy growing up in Prague who finds his world turned upside down by Nazi rule. It starts out small---with prejudices against Jews that seem unfortunate but trivial. Only we all know what is to come---a slide into an unthinkable abyss of terror, abuse and horror. This story differs from some others about the Holocaust in that it is written from the point of ...more
Emily Zaslow Hourihan
Well, everything is more intense when your friend recommends a book (this book) which was written by a friend of her father's. A Terezin survivor, a childhood friend, they were both in the same 'camp' together, in the room they called "Nesharim." Harrowing, but such a clear picture of a time and a place, through a young boys eyes. The ghost writer did a really good job of making this story fast paced and real, not looking back, but very much present tense. I believe this is a book for young ...more
I don't think I've read a Holocaust memoir about the Theresienstadt (Terezin) Concentration Camp. Very different in some respects. The people there were in horrible conditions but compared to other concentration camps such as Auschwitz or Birkenau they had "more" food and perhaps "slightly" better living areas. None of it was 'good' of course.

This book is geared towards middle school readers. There are a few scenes that are very detailed and can be upsetting to some. I put this book in my young
Jordan Huber
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have always enjoyed Holocaust books, and this one was exceptionally good. Not only was it well written but it seemed to transport me to Terezin, the concentration camp where Misha lived. In the book, the author tells how Misha, the main character, had to struggle through many things at the concentration camp, but no matter how hard it was he always arrived at the other end. This is why he is my most favorite character in the book. I also never realized how many transports (trains to bring ...more
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
I haven't read many books centered around WW2 in recent years, mainly I think because I read SO many years ago. Reading Yellow Star was a good way to dive back in, though, so I randomly pulled this one off the library shelf. I thought this was an excellent juvenile/young adult Holocaust memoir. Even though the book covers the author's life from age 8-15, I think it would be best suited for ages 12+. The content is always written from his perspective at the time and isn't gratuitous, but it is ...more
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: because-of-g
I probably would have never found this book on my own, so I'm thankful it was required reading for my incoming 5th grader!

This book places you alongside Michael, a Czech Jewish boy, during the period of 1939-1945. It's about how his world turned a little more grey, and a lot more confusing, but he (and the others at Terezin) remained hopeful they would be liberated. We have the luxury of reading this, knowing from the onset that some were in fact liberated, but imagine only having hope to cling
Lynn Edler
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Michael Gruenbaum's Holocaust memoir reminds us all that even when evil exists, hope persists. When Gruenbaaum was 12, he was sent to Terezin concentration camp with his mother and sister for 3 1/2 years, and through luck, an enterprising mother, and endurance they all survived and he tells his harrowing story. His story sheds light on the truth of Terezin and the evil and dangers for all Jews in Nazi-occupied territories. This book was published in 2015 and is written for middle school ...more
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children, nonfiction
Great piece of narrative nonfiction. Michael "Misha" Gruenbaum's memoir of growing up during the Holocaust enlightens readers on the horrors under Nazi occupied Europe. Misha's idyllic, somewhat privileged childhood turns suddenly into a nightmare when his father is taken from their family home and imprisoned. The nightmare continues as life becomes a daily struggle in one concentration camp after another. Misha, his mother, and his sister try to keep a positive attitude in spite of the ...more
Kristen Blackton
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've read many books detailing Holocaust survivors' experiences, but this one brings a new perspective that I had not read about before. Michael "Misha" Gruenbaum was a young Czech Jew when Nazi Germany invaded his country, and he and his remaining family ended up in Terezin. His experience in a camp ghetto was much different than that of his contemporaries in Auschwitz. I appreciated the perspective that the authors took and the nuances of Michael's life that the story provided. I am glad I ...more
Jazmin Sanchez
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this book was really good. I think its good to talk about history even if its something bad like the holocaust. This book was also so good because of all the detail the authors put into the book. I would have liked it better if they had a little part of the story for the sister and what happened to her and the boy she met after they were liberated from the camp but I do know that might of not been known that since the story was from one pov.
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A heartbreaking and meaningful memoir about life as a Jewish boy in the Terezin camp. It’s first-person narrative allows the reader to feel the emotions Misha experienced while being held captive.
The author, along with Michael Gruenbaum, did their best to only use true details and events in writing this book. This means nothing is embellished or simmered down to make things sound better. Reading this book is a great way to learn about this layer of the Holocaust and it’s many horrors.
Natalie Hausknecht
My 8 year old daughter couldn’t put this book down. She was horrified by the beginning, but ultimately wouldn’t stop talking about the journey of this child and family. It must be very difficult to write a memoir on the Holocaust that connects to such a young child. This one does so artfully and informs a young reader about the terrors and atrocities of the Nazis in a way to which they can relate, if not understand.
Alan N
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is written in first person and in present tense. This book takes place in 1939-1945. It a ten year boy named Michael Gruenbaum he lives Prague, Czechoslovakia. During the time the book took place was in World War Two. He was Jewish so it was hard for him. His Dad was murder it was hard time him to get food or even a shelter. He lived with his mother and sister. The boy was sent to a prison camp. It was hard for him but some good things happen during his life.
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