Recommended for readers 7-10
Sorale, a 10-year-old girl, finds a tiny heart-shaped card in her mother’s dresser and asks her where she got it. Her mother sits down and finally tells her daughter the story of her survival in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Fania tells her daughter how she was taken to the camp, tattooed, and put to work with other women in the camp. She talks about their fear and their hunger, and how, on her birthday, the women came together to give her a birthday gift: a cake, from their bread rations, and the tiny card, folded into a heart-shape, which opens into a petaled flower, inscribed with their wishes for Fania. This little book is all that Sorale’s mother has left of her life before.
Based on a true story, Fania’s Heart embraces resilience, courage, and the strength we gain through our friendships. The realistic artwork may invoke strong emotions from readers: the pain of memory; the slumped shoulders of the Auschwitz women; the determination on Fania’s face, all carry powerful reactions. An author’s note tells Fania’s story and includes photos of Fania, Sorale (Sandy), and Fania’s heart, which is on display in the Montreal Holocaust Museum. Fania’s Heart is a good additional book to add to World War II and Holocaust collections.