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Ruth and the Night of Broken Glass: A World War II Survival Story

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In the late summer and early fall of 1938, ten-year-old Ruth Block, along with her father, mother, and best friend, Miriam, must navigate the increasing pressure placed on the Jewish population in Frankfurt, Germany. Ruth grows more worried by the day. Her father's stationery store is shut down; she and Miriam are belittled on the street; their school is closed. Then one n In the late summer and early fall of 1938, ten-year-old Ruth Block, along with her father, mother, and best friend, Miriam, must navigate the increasing pressure placed on the Jewish population in Frankfurt, Germany. Ruth grows more worried by the day. Her father's stationery store is shut down; she and Miriam are belittled on the street; their school is closed. Then one night in November, the family's apartment is broken into. Ruth's father is dragged into the square and arrested, along with hundreds of other Jewish men. Ruth, her family, her friends, and her community struggle to survive the fiery night and the terrifying, uncertain future ahead of them. Featuring nonfiction support material, a glossary, and reader response questions, this Girls Survive story takes readers to Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, one of history's most important moments.


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In the late summer and early fall of 1938, ten-year-old Ruth Block, along with her father, mother, and best friend, Miriam, must navigate the increasing pressure placed on the Jewish population in Frankfurt, Germany. Ruth grows more worried by the day. Her father's stationery store is shut down; she and Miriam are belittled on the street; their school is closed. Then one n In the late summer and early fall of 1938, ten-year-old Ruth Block, along with her father, mother, and best friend, Miriam, must navigate the increasing pressure placed on the Jewish population in Frankfurt, Germany. Ruth grows more worried by the day. Her father's stationery store is shut down; she and Miriam are belittled on the street; their school is closed. Then one night in November, the family's apartment is broken into. Ruth's father is dragged into the square and arrested, along with hundreds of other Jewish men. Ruth, her family, her friends, and her community struggle to survive the fiery night and the terrifying, uncertain future ahead of them. Featuring nonfiction support material, a glossary, and reader response questions, this Girls Survive story takes readers to Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, one of history's most important moments.

30 review for Ruth and the Night of Broken Glass: A World War II Survival Story

  1. 5 out of 5

    Becky B

    Ruth is happy with her life in Frankfurt. But as her Jewish family and community face increasing hatred and violence, they are shocked and don't know what to do. Emma Carlson Berne did quite a bit of research for this book and most of Ruth's actions and what happens to her and her family and friends are based on real stories of what happened to kids and Jewish families during the days leading up to Kristallnacht and during it. Ruth is a spunky main character, ready to try and take down the entire Ruth is happy with her life in Frankfurt. But as her Jewish family and community face increasing hatred and violence, they are shocked and don't know what to do. Emma Carlson Berne did quite a bit of research for this book and most of Ruth's actions and what happens to her and her family and friends are based on real stories of what happened to kids and Jewish families during the days leading up to Kristallnacht and during it. Ruth is a spunky main character, ready to try and take down the entire Nazi force all on her own, but that gets her in trouble more than once. This is the most violent of the Girls Survive stories I've read, but that said, a story of Kristallnacht could've been way more violent and bloody. (Ruth doesn't witness anyone actually killed, which is pretty tame for a middle grade story set in Nazi Germany.) I've read other retellings of Kristallnacht that resonated with me more, but none aimed at middle graders. Hand this to middle graders who never seem to be able to get enough WWII stories. Notes on content: Ruth faces some verbal/racial bullying. No sexual content. Several people are beaten up, thrown through glass windows, etc but no one is killed. Belongings of Jews are mangled and burned.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    This is the third book I've read from this Girls Survive series and I've liked each one. Through Ruth's eyes, we get to see how the world of a young Jewish girl in Frankfurt, Germany, November 1938, completely changes overnight. The Night of Broken Glass is the first time in which violence was used against Jews, Ruth and her family and that of her closest friend, Miriam, included. Ruth's story tells not only of the crimes of the Nazis, but also the hatred of their once friendly Aryan neighbors, This is the third book I've read from this Girls Survive series and I've liked each one. Through Ruth's eyes, we get to see how the world of a young Jewish girl in Frankfurt, Germany, November 1938, completely changes overnight. The Night of Broken Glass is the first time in which violence was used against Jews, Ruth and her family and that of her closest friend, Miriam, included. Ruth's story tells not only of the crimes of the Nazis, but also the hatred of their once friendly Aryan neighbors, which is equally horrifying. There is also reference to the Kindertransport, the train that took Jewish children out of Germany to England. The book doesn't end with a happy ending, which is accurate, as this night was just the beginning of the horrors yet to come, but with more of a resolve to survive.

  3. 5 out of 5

    H

    How does one fictionalize for young readers, yet keep true to history, Kristallnacht? Emma Carlson Berne has done a pretty good job of it. Ruth bears witness to this night of broken glass with her family and is quite rage-filled. It seems at times that was all Ruth was about, even being impetuous and unsafe with her rage. An epilogue showing Ruth what happened to Ruth after the war would have been a nice ending to the book but the ending given is still good as it bears to mind the uncertainty of How does one fictionalize for young readers, yet keep true to history, Kristallnacht? Emma Carlson Berne has done a pretty good job of it. Ruth bears witness to this night of broken glass with her family and is quite rage-filled. It seems at times that was all Ruth was about, even being impetuous and unsafe with her rage. An epilogue showing Ruth what happened to Ruth after the war would have been a nice ending to the book but the ending given is still good as it bears to mind the uncertainty of the primed powder keg sitting on the horizon.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jennybeast

    Something about this one is a little more viscerally disturbing than the other books in the series thus far. More direct violence -- Ruth is directly attacked and thrown through a window. Also, her defiance is so ineffective -- which makes for an effective story, because it creates a feeling of helplessness in the readers, something the author heard repeatedly from the people who's experience she based her book on. This is a grimmer story than the other two, but Ruth is a likable and relateable Something about this one is a little more viscerally disturbing than the other books in the series thus far. More direct violence -- Ruth is directly attacked and thrown through a window. Also, her defiance is so ineffective -- which makes for an effective story, because it creates a feeling of helplessness in the readers, something the author heard repeatedly from the people who's experience she based her book on. This is a grimmer story than the other two, but Ruth is a likable and relateable character.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Darlene Campos

    A powerful read! This book was amazing. It gripped my attention from the beginning. Although it is aimed for kids, I'm an adult who thoroughly enjoyed the story. A powerful read! This book was amazing. It gripped my attention from the beginning. Although it is aimed for kids, I'm an adult who thoroughly enjoyed the story.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Amelia

    this book was so sad!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Hillary

    A great addition to our Historical Fiction unit in fourth grade. It gave a look into some of the early events of the Holocaust without being too scary.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Skye

    Quick, easy to read stories about important moments in history. Always was interested in learning about both World wars and had to pick this one up. Perfect for anyone who loves history!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cody Deserranno

    Story was engrossing as I was only vaguely familiar with the subject (The Night of Broken Glass), so a fictionalized account of the events was a good choice. For the heaviness of the subject, Berne uses a light touch - making this a very age-appropriate introduction to Holocaust education. The artwork, while I enjoyed it, I thought was a touch too blocky for my taste (though this may just be a stylistic choice - I didn't feel it worked as well as they hoped), I would've much preferred a more rea Story was engrossing as I was only vaguely familiar with the subject (The Night of Broken Glass), so a fictionalized account of the events was a good choice. For the heaviness of the subject, Berne uses a light touch - making this a very age-appropriate introduction to Holocaust education. The artwork, while I enjoyed it, I thought was a touch too blocky for my taste (though this may just be a stylistic choice - I didn't feel it worked as well as they hoped), I would've much preferred a more realist approach, but otherwise was quite a lovely, short read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    LORI GOMEZ

  11. 4 out of 5

    Abigayle Vyhmeister

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Kelly

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ella

  14. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tom

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bella A. Something-or-other

  17. 5 out of 5

    Monise

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kris Cram

  19. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Aylor

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alainna

  21. 5 out of 5

    Angie

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Chynoweth

  23. 4 out of 5

    Leah Chatterjee

  24. 4 out of 5

    Miriam

  25. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

  26. 5 out of 5

    Carissa

  27. 5 out of 5

    summer reimer

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jenn Burchill

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nelson

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa

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