by Annika Thor
In the summer of 1939, Jewish sisters from Vienna, 12-year-old Stephie Steiner and 8-year-old Nellie, are sent to Sweden to escape the Nazis. Once their parents can flee to Amsterdam, the family plans to move to America. However, the world war intensifies and the girls remain, each with her own host family, on a rugged island off the western coast of Sweden.
Nellie quickly settles in to her new surroundings. She’s happy with her foster family and soon favors the Swedish language over her native German. However, Stephie finds it hard to adapt and is worried she may never see her parents again. She feels stranded at the end of the world with a foster mother who’s as cold and unforgiving as the island itself. This is the background, but also the beginning of the real story as changes in attitudes, circumstances and life itself occur.
This is the first of four books in a quartet featuring the Steiner sisters. The books were bestsellers in Sweden, have been translated into 17 languages, received high ratings from American parents, were adapted into a Swedish television series, and won the author — Swedish writer and librarian Annika Thor — many awards. This book is an excellent companion of Number the Stars listed below. Age level, 8 and up.