This book about two sisters living at Auschwitz is based on a true family story — authors Pnina Bat Zvi and Margie Wolfe are the sisters’ children.
Toby, the older of the two sisters, carries gold coins in a shoe paste tin. Two years earlier, on the night their parents were arrested, their father gave the girls the coins and told them to stay together, no matter what — that it would be their only chance for survival.
When Rachel, the younger sister, falls ill, the girls are separated for the first time. Using the coins, Toby bribes a guard to let her into the barrack where Rachel is being held and rescues her. As punishment, Toby receives a lashing. The sisters ultimately survive, and when the coins are long gone, they have kept their promise to their parents that they would stay together.
Illustrator Isabelle Cardinal does a fine job of showing the dissonance of the camp through her muted-tone collages. The shifting point of view is cumbersome, but the story, which emphasizes survival through sisterhood, is heartwarming.