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The Lily Pond [Hardcover]

Annika Thor , Linda Schenck

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Book Description

Oct. 11 2011 Mildred L. Batchelder Honor Books
A Mildred L. Batchelder Honor Book and an ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Book, The Lily Pond continues the story of two Jewish sisters who left Austria during WWII/Holocaust and found refuge in Sweden.

A year after Stephie Steiner and her younger sister, Nellie, left Nazi-occupied Vienna, Stephie has finally adapted to life on the rugged Swedish island where she now lives. But more change awaits Stephie: her foster parents have allowed her to enroll in school on the mainland, in Goteberg. Stephie is eager to go. Not only will she be pursuing her studies, she'll be living in a cultured city again—under the same roof as Sven, the son of the lodgers who rented her foster parents' cottage for the summer.
Five years her senior, Sven dazzles Stephie with his charm, his talk of equality, and his anti-Hitler sentiments. Stephie can't help herself—she's falling in love. As she navigates a sea of new emotions, she also grapples with what it means to be beholden to others, with her constant worry about what her parents are enduring back in Vienna, and with the menacing spread of Nazi ideology, even in Sweden. In these troubled times, her true friends, Stephie discovers, are the ones she least expected.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (Oct. 11 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385740395
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385740395
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.5 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #980,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Booklist, December 1, 2011:
"A compelling look at World War II–era Sweden, this distinguished Holocaust story will resonate."

Horn Book, January/February 2012:
"Stephie’s story of adjustment to a new school and of a first crush is both specific and universal"

About the Author

ANNIKA THOR's bestselling quartet featuring the Steiner sisters has been translated into numerous languages and was adapted into a hugely popular television series in Sweden.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tough but Beautiful Oct. 13 2011
By emkachan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Stephie Steiner, a 13-year-old Austrian Jew, moves to Goteborg on the Swedish mainland in Annika Thor's amazing sequel to the Faraway Island. Stephie came to Sweden with a group of child refugees from Vienna and was sent to foster parents on the tip of a remote island. The first book describes Stephie's challenges on the island. In The Lily Pond, Stephie boards with a family in Goteborg and attends grammar school (high school) on a scholarship. Her parents are hundreds of miles away, working long hours in a factory and the Jewish hospital, moving from a room in their grand old apartment to a small room in the Jewish ghetto, trying to get entrance visas to America, but The Lily Pond spends more time on Stephie, her friends, her unrequited love for Sven, and her schoolwork. Stephie's foster family on the island has become her new home, and her several weekends there are too short, but the freedom of the city puts her in a pickle when she attends the cinema and runs into her strict Pentecostal foster mother's gossipy neighbor on the way out. Stephie continues her schooling and finds a friend who also doesn't quite fit in, but, at the end of The Lily Pond, the war has barely started for the Swedes. Much more will come in the next two books of this spectacular, well-written, and truthful quartet.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stephie's story continues in this wonderful sequel to A Faraway Island April 5 2012
By Z Hayes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"The Lily Pond" is the second in a quartet of books by Swedish author Annika Thor, and translated by Linda Schenck. The setting is the early days of World War II when the persecution of Jews by the Nazi government in Germany was escalating and affecting Jews elsewhere in Europe. In the first book, "A Faraway Island", readers are introduced to 12-year-old Stephie Steiner and her 7-year-old sister Nellie who find themselves being part of a group of 500 Jewish children who have been granted asylum in Sweden. The sisters leave behind their beloved parents who are forced to stay behind in Vienna, Austria as they try to obtain visas that will enable the entire family to emigrate to the United States.

In "The Lily Pond", the story continues, focusing primarily on Stephie's experiences. Stephie's parents are still working hard to obtain visas that will enable them to emigrate to the United States, but times are difficult, and the process is lengthy and fraught with complications. The rapidly deteriorating situation for the Jews of Austria is conveyed to Stephie via the letters her parents send to her.

Meanwhile, back in Sweden, Stephie, who is now 13, has completed elementary schooling and arrangements have been made for her to continue on to grammar school in Goteborg, a large city on the mainland. Stephie finds herself looking forward to once again living in a big city (since she is originally from the highly cultured city Vienna), and anticipates renewing her acquaintance with Sven, the son of the lodgers who had leased her foster parents' cottage over the summer.

"The Lily Pond" is a well-written historical novel as it credibly explores the themes of alienation and adolescent pangs. Stephie is attracted to the much older Sven, drawn in by his anti-Hitler sentiments as well as his ideas. However, Stephie also finds herself realizing that anti-Semitism is also evident in Sweden, and she has to learn how to navigate this as well as peer pressure. Stephie's foster parents are Pentecostal Christians who are strict and devout, and frown upon watching movies at the cinema (considered sinful) and Stephie has to learn to deal with all of these things while worrying about her parents back in Vienna.

The themes explored in this novel may be serious, but it presents a credible view of the life of a teenage Jewish girl, far from home, during a volatile and dangerous time. Many of the themes explored here can also be used as discussion points with young adults (recommended for Grades 5 and up).
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING Jan. 4 2013
By Monkey lover - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
BEST BOOK EVER! You have to read it!!!!!! It is amazing and I wanted to cry towards the end!!!! READ IT!!!
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nazis destroying Jewish Families is never a happy story April 8 2012
By LivinginBeauty - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The story is good, but I did not like the writing style (was it translated from Swedish?). Everything is written in the present tense in short sentences, i.e, "Stephie picks up her pen" , Stephie looks away" ("see Spot run"), as if the book were written for first graders (although the reading level is designated 9+). By the time I got to page 190, the reading became somewhat annoying and tedious. *SPOILER* At that point (pg. 190), Stephie has been blamed for cheating on a test, and doesn't tell the teacher who really cheated. Realistically, NO CHILD would ever be silent under those circumstances because children like to tattle ... (remember, when you were a kid? ""Ewwww! I'm gonna tell" ... or "who spilled that milk, "he did, no you did"" ... ). I could be wrong, but don't children have a natural instinct to protect themselves, and fight back ? Her reaction to the cheating was totally unrealistic (not admitting that it was another girl who was cheating). Or is it possible that this girl was so depressed about her situation, she couldn't react?
Anyway, .. no more spoilers! This is a heart-breaking book, but still worth reading.
The story has good "book discussion" material. Especially her circumstances, the living situation and her emotional turmoil.

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