Shanghai Escape

  • Pages:240
  • Publisher:Second Story Press
  • Series: The Holocaust Remembrance Series for Young Readers
  • Themes:Jewish children Holocaust, Holocaust true story, China, antisemitism
  • Available:10/14/2013
  • Age Groups:Nonfiction Ages 9-12
Lily Toufar and her family arrive in Shanghai in 1938, having fled from Nazi-occupied Vienna and the persecution of Jewish families like theirs. Shanghai is a strange place for a young European girl, but it is one of the few places in the world to offer Jews refuge from the Holocaust. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and under pressure from Hitler, the Japanese government in Shanghai orders Jewish refugees to move into a ghetto in an area of Shanghai called Hongkew. Life changes for Lily and her family when they are forced to the ghetto. With little food to eat and poor sanitation, disease is rampant. Lily endures, but when rumors begin to circulate that the Japanese are going to open a camp like the ones where Jews are imprisoned in Europe, she fears for her and her family's safety. Based on a true story.

"A good and different addition to Holocaust literature."

– School Library Journal

"Kacer writes from the child's perspective, which is often one of innocence and confusion, and allows us as readers to feel empathy for the children whose stories she shares."

– Canadian Children's Booknews

"I hope teachers from the junior grades to high school are using Kacer's books to support the history curriculum as they teach about the Holocaust and World War II. These are important stories to be shared and never forgotten."

– Canadian Children's Booknews

"Kathy Kacer has received many awards and award nominations for her previous books, and this, her eighth book in the “Holocaust Remembrance Series,” furthers her personal mandate to bring awareness of the injustices of this part of world history to young people. Its readability factor, insights, emotions and characterization make Shanghai Escape a magnetic book for readers aged nine to thirteen, as well as a great resource for Holocaust and Remembrance Day studies."

– CM Magazine

"Lovingly researched...Author Kathy Kacer uses the true story of Lily Toufar to show us what daily life was like as Jew in China as she endured poverty, starvation, and cruelty. We empathize with Lily and her extended family as we grow to love and respect their courage."

– Historical Novel Society

"Once again Kacer brings us into this turbulent time in history though the eyes of a child who was caught up in the horror and once again she does it with a finesse that portrays the suffering and pain without making it too graphic for young readers. This book would be another great addition to school and public libraries and a great supplement to social studies programs that focus on World War II and the Holocaust."

– Resource Links

"What is remarkable about this book is that through a young child’s eyes, the history and aura of Shanghai become immediate. The child-reader, identifying with Lily, will gain an understanding of the trials experienced by Lily’s and other Jewish families when they are ordered out of French Town to a filthy, shabby ghetto....The decision regarding when to introduce Holocaust literature to younger children has been debated for years, but Kathy Kacer makes it plausible to introduce it to readers from grade 3, using her excellent 'A Holocaust Remembrance Series for Young Readers.'"

– Jewish Book World

"Kacer writes of a Jewish community determined to retain its identity and survive in the face of adversity. Young readers will share Lily's happiness as she celebrates Passover in the Ohel Moshe Synagogue and her joy when the war ends and her family leaves Shanghai for Toronto, 'their tough and long struggle finally over.'"

– Hadassah Magazine
National Jewish Book Awards   | 2013  |  Short-listed