The Upstairs Room (Trophy Newbery)

by Johanna Reiss

Paperback, 1990


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Call number

J Re 1938


HarperCollins (1990), Edition: Reissue, Paperback, 208 pages


A Dutch Jewish girl describes the two-and-one-half years she spent in hiding in the upstairs bedroom of a farmer's house during World War II.

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User reviews

LibraryThing member stfrancisxavier
Annie de Leeuw and her family live a normal life until the Nazis come to Holland. Suddenly her family must split up, simply to stay alive. Eight-year-old Annie and her sister, Sini must venture out on their own - hiding in a farmhouse - trusting strangers and simply hoping the war will end soon. A
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powerful, true story of a girl's survival similar to Anne Frank's "Diary of a Young Girl". Heads up, there are a few curse words.
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LibraryThing member Polo.Pony
When two Jewish sisters have to go into hiding during the holocaust, they have to learn to pass time by using their imaginations, learn to live without their parents and be patient. Another important thing for them to remember is to be quiet when guests are at the house. If they got caught they
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could be sent to one of the many camps set up or worse.

*****Warning: Spoiler Below****

One of the things that I liked about this story is that everything turned out ok. The girls lived through the holocaust without ever having to go to one of the horrid camps. It was a very good book!
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LibraryThing member fingerpost
This book won five significant awards, so it must be good to some people.
Annie is a young Jewish girl in Holland. As World War II begins and the Germans invade Holland, she and her sister Sini are taken to a different town to be put into hiding by a farmer, his wife and his elderly mother. After
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the are situated, virtually nothing happens for the entire book except conversations between the five people in the house. Then at the end the Allies arrive and everyone is free again.
I should note however, that this is an autobiographical novel. As the author is telling her own true story, she didn't have the freedom to develop an elaborate plot. And since she was in hiding, in the house, usually in one room for over two years, what could she really have to tell other than conversations between the people in the house.
I found it dreadfully boring reading. I'm glad to know most people got more out of this book than I did.
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LibraryThing member ark76
I highly recommend this as a good first book on the holocaust for younger children. It is less personal and upsetting than the Diary of Anne Frank but is honest in its depiction of Jews that have to go into hiding at the beginning of the war. It reminds children of the unfairness of the world, the
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innate goodness of many and the necessity of equality. A parent or teacher should read along for discussion. A good companion to Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.
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LibraryThing member miraclerussell
Summary: This book was about a little girl name Annie and her Jewish family going through life during the holocaust. Ultimately , Annie and her sister and her father left their home in Holland due to the invasion of Hitler and his soldiers. Annie was forced to leave her school, her father had to
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stop working at the local little store and her sister was fired as a teacher all because their family was Jewish. The family had to go into hiding so that they would not be sent to the concentration camps all Jews were sent by Hitler.

Personal Reaction: This book was awesome to me. I love stories and books dealing with the history of the holocaust. This story is book is great for students in all grades because the the author ells this story in a not too graphic way which many other books do while explaining the holocaust era.

Classroom extension: I would introduce this book to my 4th or 5th graders and I would have them use their imagination, as im reading the story I would have them draw what they think this scene would look like.
2. I would have the students write short letters to the Holocaust survivors or to the author of this book and let them knw how they feel about reading this story in our class.
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LibraryThing member Catie.Huskey
Summary: This book is about two sisters who are forced into hiding during the Holocaust so that they would not be taken to concentration camps. Annie and Sini hid upstairs above the Oosterveld's farmhouse, which was a small place to be cramped into. They had to hid up there for two depressing years
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before they were able to return home.
Personal reaction:It was an inspiring story it took a lot of courage for the girls to hide their without the rest of their family and it was honorable of the Oosterveld'sto take the girls in.
Classroom extensions: This could be used to teach the history of the Holcaust. Another idea would be to have children write or draw what they would do or how they would feel if they had to be in hiding for two years.
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LibraryThing member Book_Shelter
this book gave me such a view into what it must have been like to go into hiding and be seperated from family. It was an eye opener for me as to how stir cazy a person could go by being shut in one small room for years... Like prison. Also how heroic people were to be willing to die to hide those
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who needed to hide. Truly a human view.
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LibraryThing member betsyeggers
This is a very well written book for young adults about Annie and her sister, Sini, who are two young Jewish girls that are hidden away by their Gentile neighbors during WWII. The book has a lot of suspense, especially when the Nazi soldiers come to the house checking for hidden Jews, but there are
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also issues as depicted by Annie between the Jews and the Gentiles. This is a great book for young adults to read to learn more about aspect of the Holocaust, even though it is a fiction book based off of actual events.
I would recomment this book for my library (medium public library).
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LibraryThing member rcohen425
The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss, is a historical fiction novel about two Jewish sisters who survive the Holocaust in hiding. Annie de Leeuw, the protagonist, was eight years old at the start of the war when she was separated from her entire family, with the exception of her sister. The
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Oostervelds, a Gentile family, agree to hide the children in small room in their home. They risk their own lives out of kindness to save Annie and her sister Sini. The book is filled with suspense and we learn how the sisters survived using their creative imaginations.

This Newberry Honor book is great for students just beginning to study the Holocaust, specifically 6th graders. It touches upon an aspect of the Holocaust that is often forgotten, the Righteous Gentiles—those non-Jews who sacrificed their lives to save the life of a Jew. It is important to recognize these selfless individuals and in doing so, students can contemplate what they would have done if they were presented in a situation to try and save someone’s life knowing they were putting their own lives in danger.

There is also a teachers guide for this book which includes various lesson plans.
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LibraryThing member Whisper1
This is a 1973 Newbery Honor book, an American Library Association Notable Children's book, a Jane Addams Peace Association Honor book and a winner of the prestigious Buxtehuder Bulle German children's book award.

Taken from real-life experiences of the author, she tells the story of four years of
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confinement in a cramped attic room during the Nazi occupation of Holland. Eager to destroy the Jewish population, the Nazi's beat, brutalized and killed anyone willing to hide Jewish people.

Bravely, a gentile family who were farmers, provided refuge for Annie de Leeuw and her sister Sini. Written from the perspective of eight year old Annie, the reader learns of the day to day boredom and fear of their confinement.

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LibraryThing member n_yay
Oh I love this one; it's one of my more frequently read books.
LibraryThing member Amabel300
A beautifully done story of something that I'm sure happened all too commonly.
LibraryThing member christiq
This book is an autobiographical description of a Dutch Jewish girl's two-and-one-half years spent in hiding in the upstairs bedroom of a farmer's house during World War II. This book would be ideal for students interested in history or those that may have an interest in other stories that happened
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during WWII, besides the violence of the war.
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LibraryThing member FriendsLibraryFL
When the German army occupied Holland, Annie de Leeuw was eight years old. Because she was Jewish, the occupation put her in grave danger-she knew that to stay alive she would have to hide. Fortunately, a Gentile family, the Oostervelds, offered to help. For two years they hid Annie and her sister,
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Sini, in the cramped upstairs room of their farmhouse. Most people thought the war wouldn't last long. But for Annie and Sini -- separated from their family and confined to one tiny room -- the war seemed to go on forever. In the part of the marketplace where flowers had been sold twice a week-tulips in the spring, roses in the summer-stood German tanks and German soldiers. Annie de Leeuw was eight years old in 1940 when the Germans attacked Holland and marched into the town of Winterswijk where she lived. Annie was ten when, because she was Jewish and in great danger of being captured by the invaders, she and her sister Sini had to leave their father, mother, and older sister Rachel to go into hiding in the upstairs room of a remote farmhouse .Johanna de Leeuw Reiss has written a remarkably fresh and moving account of her own experiences as a young girl during World War II. Like many adults she was innocent of the German plans for Jews, and she might have gone to a labor camp as scores of families did. It won't be for long and the Germans have told us we'll be treated well, those families said. What can happen? They did not know, and they could not imagine.... But millions of Jews found out. Mrs. Reiss's picture of the Oosterveld family with whom she lived, and of Annie and Sini, reflects a deep spirit of optimism, a faith in the ingenuity, backbone, and even humor with which ordinary human beings meet extraordinary challenges. In the steady, matter-of-fact, day-by-day courage they all showed lies a profound strength that transcends the horrors of the long and frightening war. Here is a memorable book, one that will be read and reread for years to come.
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LibraryThing member engpunk77
I've really struggled to get past chapter 4. The writing is starting to bore and confuse me. It's choppy and disorganized, lacking details needed that at times confuses me as to what's happening. It's BORING. Perhaps knowing that this a memoir of a survivor, about her time in HIDING (rather than
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her experiences in the Holocaust overall) somehow spoils it for me. I feel like the drudgery will not end--nothing exciting will happen. SHe isn't going to get caught, so what's to keep me turning the page? Absolutely no suspense at this point. And I'm procrastinating in finishing it to write this review, so that's how bad it is.

Update: It's been like 3 months, and now it's summer. I'm almost finished, but I can't bare to bring this book into my summer reading. I'm not finishing it, and nothing interesting ever happened. What Reiss effectively communicated in this book was that having to hide for a few years was unbearably boring.

To be fair, I didn't hate the book (I just didn't like it), and it DID have an excellent introduction that summed up the Holocaust quite effectively. A young reader may also be interested in the very first chapter that shows a girl's best friend turning on her completely all of a sudden just because she's Jewish, and how the parents struggled with the decision to flee to America or "wait it out".

Perhaps this book is best suited for really young children (8-9?) or for Reiss's own children, but not for me.
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LibraryThing member electrascaife
Think Diary of Anne Frank, but written after the fact, when the Annie of this story was an adult. For this reason, I think, the writing isn't as compelling (and, of course, her story isn't as tragic), although the story is still so important, and this one may be more readable for young kids.
LibraryThing member amyghilton
Quick read about a young Jewish girl hiding from the Nazis in Holland during World War II. Although this was a Newbery award winner in 1973, I felt that the dialogue was a bit boring and redundant, but that may be due, in part, to comparing it with more recent books with similar plots that I
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enjoyed much more. It's still a good book to start with in teaching children about the Holocaust.
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LibraryThing member fuzzi
Memoir by a young Jewish girl of being hidden from the Nazis during World War II. The more I read the more I appreciated this story, and felt it should be required reading by adolescents. Nothing graphic, but violence is mentioned in passing, such as knowing that relatives getting on the trains to
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work camps will never come back.
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Young Hoosier Book Award (Nominee — 1975)
Sequoyah Book Award (Nominee — Children's — 1975)
National Jewish Book Award (Winner — Children's Literature — 1973)
Newbery Medal (Honor Book — 1973)
Vermont Golden Dome Book Award (Nominee — 1973-1974)


Original publication date


Physical description

208 p.; 5.13 inches


006440370X / 9780064403702


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