Hidden on the High Wire

  • Pages:216
  • Publisher:Second Story Press
  • Series: The Holocaust Remembrance Series for Young Readers
  • Themes:hidden Jewish children, Jewish resistance, Jewish circus, Althoff Circus, Darmstadt
  • Available:09/27/2022
  • Lexile:730L
  • Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient:W

Irene grew up traveling around Germany with her family’s circus, surrounded by her loved ones and thrilling the crowds with her performance on the high wire...until one day, the audience boos. The Lorch family is Jewish, and the increasing power of Adolf Hitler’s Nazis has put them all in grave danger.

When the circus is forced to shut down and Irene’s father is taken away, Irene and her mother must go into hiding with another circus. Every day is a frightening new kind of balancing act, caught between the desire to perform and the need to hide—even in plain sight.

"Buzzing with tensions both pronounced and implied, this true tale highlights defiant circus settings and the leaders who worked to keep their spaces fair…Irene’s is a sobering story, and young readers will benefit from the truths that it reveals—including about the bravery that’s required to do what’s right. Hidden on the High Wire is a fast, conscientious Holocaust story."

– Foreword Reviews

“Though touched by plenty of tragedy, this is a more uplifting Holocaust tale than most ... A timely reminder of the power of kindness and generosity during antagonistic times.”

– Booklist

"The novel shines an interesting light on Jewish-owned circuses, Jewish circus performers, and their plight during the Second World War… An exciting true-life story."

– Kirkus Reviews

"This book is an entertaining and educational story, engaging both in the historical storyline and the descriptions of the circus life. The reader can feel the tension, fear, and bravery involved both in walking on the high wire and living through the hate and threats of the Holocaust."


"A touching story that reminds readers even in war we can find compassion."

– Calgary Herald
Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People   | 2023  |  Short-listed
The Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids and Teens, Junior & Intermediate Fiction   | 2023  |  Commended
Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award (MYRCA), the 2024 MYRCA Sundogs Award   | 2023  |  Short-listed