It’s 1938 in Berlin. Franziska Mangold isn’t Jewish, but her grandparents were. In Hitler’s Germany, this means she’s sent to a Jewish school halfway across the city, gets bullied by neighborhood boys, and spends hours practicing escape routes with her best friend Bekka. Her family wants to leave Germany together, but before they get out, Franziska’s father is taken away by the Nazis. Soon after, she wins a spot on the kindertransport. She will be smuggled out of Germany on a train with hundreds of other children. But her family won’t be with her. She’ll be alone, facing a new life in England.
Franziska ends up more alone than she imagined: the foster family that agreed to take her in never shows up at the train station to pick her up. Instead, she’s sent to a refugee center and waits, Sunday after Sunday, as prospective foster families choose other children—younger children—to take home.
Will Franziska find a family for the war? And what about her family left behind in Germany? Will they be able to escape to England too?
My Family for the War is intense and gripping. The characters suffer through the horrors of World War II. But by the end, you’ll feel like you’re part of Franziska’s family, and that she’s part of yours.
Genre: historical fiction
Grade 7 and up.