Title: Jars of Hope
Author: Jennifer Roy
Major Themes: Poland, World War II, Nazis, Irena Sendler, Jewish History
Synopsis: During World War II, Irena Sendler saved 2,500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto.
Because I love books like Jars of Hope so much, I jumped at the chance to read it for reviewing. I have always really liked picture books for younger children that tell a real story, and history is my favorite subject. I started reading this one last night on my computer, and quickly saw that my children would like it, so I offered to read it aloud. Very quickly, all eight of my children, and my husband, were standing behind me looking at the pictures as I read the story.
Jars of Hope tells the true story of Irena Sendler, a young social worker in Warsaw, Poland in 1940. When 500,000 Polish Jews were herded into the 2 square miles of the Warsaw Ghetto, Irena did all she could to help them. Under the guise of giving vaccinations to keep disease from spreading to the rest of the city, she arranged to smuggle some 2,500 children and babies out of the ghetto and place them in the homes of brave people who would take care of them until the war ended. She kept meticulous records of the children’s real names and parents, as well as their assumed names and where they had been placed. Miraculously, even when Irena was arrested by the Gestapo and imprisoned for three months, the list never fell into Nazi hands.
I asked my children for their thoughts about the book today. My 5-year-old said he thought Irena and her helpers were pretty smart. Three of the boys said they really liked the book, and two especially mentioned the pictures. One of them said his favorite part was how Irena loved the children. Jars of Hope is a good addition to any study of World War II.
Note: I was given a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12