The Whirl­wind

Car­ol Matas
  • Review
By – April 2, 2012
It is 1941. Ben, his sis­ter and par­ents are able to flee Ger­many for the Unit­ed States with his father’s broth­er, Issac, as spon­sor. But why didn’t his father lis­ten to Ben’s grand­moth­er when she begged him to flee much ear­li­er? Now Ben’s grand­par­ents, his beloved cousin Eliz­a­beth and her fam­i­ly are unable to leave Ger­many and they soon stop hear­ing from them. After expe­ri­enc­ing hor­ri­ble anti-Semi­tism and beat­ings by for­mer school­mates in Ger­many, Ben can­not shake off des­per­ate feel­ings of dan­ger and inse­cu­ri­ty, even in the Unit­ed States. These increase when his only friend, a Japan­ese-Amer­i­can boy, and his fam­i­ly are sent away to an intern­ment camp after the Japan­ese attack on Pearl Har­bor, and Ben is being bul­lied by anti- Semit­ic Amer­i­can school­mates who look like Nazis. Ben falls vic­tim to fear, afraid that it is all hap­pen­ing again. This book tack­les the impor­tant issue of prej­u­dice with­in Amer­i­ca dur­ing the war years. Anoth­er win­ner from the tal­ent­ed Matas, whose pre­vi­ous Holo­caust themed nov­els have proven pop­u­lar­i­ty among YA read­ers. Ages 12 +.
Mar­cia W. Pos­ner, Ph.D., of the Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al and Tol­er­ance Cen­ter of Nas­sau Coun­ty, is the library and pro­gram direc­tor. An author and play­wright her­self, she loves review­ing for JBW and read­ing all the oth­er reviews and arti­cles in this mar­velous periodical.

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