The Upstairs Room

Brief Description: A 10 yo Jewish girl and her sister hide from Nazis in a Dutch farmhouse during WWII

Geographical Setting: , , ,

Historical Era:

Date Range: 1938-1945

Keywords: , ,

Original Publication: 1972

Suitable for Grades: 3-8th

Target Audience: Chapter Book, Middle Grade

Librarian's Review

Six year old Annie DeLeeuw doesn’t understand her father’s concern about the radio reports coming from Germany in 1938.  But two years later the Nazis invade the Netherlands, and soon the family members must split up and flee their home to avoid the Nazi’s cruel abuse of the local Jewish people.  Annie rides the bus all by herself to a nearby farm community, where she meets up with her older sister to hide in the home of a kindly, childless couple.

The boredom of quietly hiding in an upstairs room for two years, seven months and one day is keenly felt by Annie and her sister.  Annie’s legs grow weak and crooked for lack of exercise.  But if they are seen by others, they risk not only their own lives, but also those of their hosts.  As the war continues, the Nazis arrive in the village and turn a room on the first floor of the farmhouse into an office.  Annie must lie still in bed upstairs until the Nazis move on.

Based on the author’s memories, this book relates an experience similar to that of Anne Frank, but without the tragic ending.  The narrative also serves as a good educational timeline to war activities as Annie and the household nervously wait for liberation by Allied forces.  When liberation does arrive, Annie sadly says goodbye to her hosts, but is soon happily reunited with her father and another sister.

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