ISBN 0440490170 - I've always loved books about WWII, because it's a time in history that is so full of stories of endurance and courage. When I picked this one up, I had my doubts about how well this era could be related in a kids' book - and I am so happy to say, it is excellent. The "secrets her parents are keeping" in some reviews don't exist. They're Jews, they live in Germany and they flee - no secret.
Anna and her family live in Germany as Hitler is coming into power, and her father is one of the lucky ones who knew this was a bad thing before it was too late. On the eve of the elections, her family flees to Zurich and begins a new life as refugees. For Anna and her brother Max, this is an adventure, even if they are sad to leave their home and friends. They believe they will be able to come home in six months, so they are not heartbroken over it. They begin school, make new friends and learn new things - not all of them good - while their parents struggle to make ends meet. Her father, a famous writer, can't get regular work for good money and her mother has to learn to do things for herself and her family that they once hired people do to for them. From Zurich to Paris and eventually to England, Anna's family loses everything they own but learn that all they really need is one another.
There are some hilarious moments, such as when Anna's teacher tells the class that cavemen used safety pins, and some moments of triumph for everyone. Anna's and Max's success with French is a high point, as is their father's selling a screenplay. Without a doubt, the saddest moment isn't when Hitler stole pink rabbit, but when news of Onkel Julius' suicide reaches the family. For parents worried about that, it's written vaguely enough that a lot of kids will have to come to parents to really understand the passage. This is an excellent story, with Hitler and the Nazis not exactly starring in it - Anna's story is much more a day-to-day story than a rehashing of the war.
I'm not really sure what age group this book is best for. On the one hand, even though it is a WWII story, there is no material in it that a young child could not handle, except perhaps the suicide of a side character by taking pills. The rest of the book is very tasteful and age-appropriate. On the other hand, there are some big words for little readers, even a couple that I, as an adult, had to look at twice. There are several phrases in French. As an adult reader, I found that the book often 'talked down to' little children in a way I found irritating. It also had a few places of word play that work in English but would not in the German the children are speaking. Kids would not notice that, but it took me out of the story a little. Those points brought this down from five stars to only 3.5 for me.