Jana Zinser writes stories about people fighting against all odds. Versed in both TV, features, and books, her background is in politics, public policy, and the media. She is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire School of Law. She received her Masters in Journalism from the University of Iowa and her undergraduate degree in political science and history from Graceland University.

The Children’s Train

After Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass) and in the months prior to WWII, nearly 10,000 Jewish children were evacuated out of Germany, Poland, Austria, and Czechoslovakia and sent to safety in England, without their parents. Privately funded by British citizens, the Kindertransport organizers successfully placed these children in English foster homes. Nearly every parent who sent their child on the train told them they would soon follow, but of course, very few were able, as war was declared not long after and Jews were rounded up and sent to concentration camps.

An Excerpt from The Children’s Train

“Peter Weinberg, with the gray, piercing eyes, was eleven when he had to face the truth that the world was filled with evil, and there was nothing he could do about it. The Nazi monster, Adolf Hitler, had risen to power in Germany, and he didn’t like Jews, not even the small ones.

That day in November, 1938, Peter pushed back his sun-streaked blondish-brown hair and swept the butcher shop floor, chasing down even the tiniest speck of dust. “A clean floor shows German pride,” his father Henry said. “If you work hard, you can make your own luck.”

“Yes, Father,” Peter said as he put the broom away. But Peter wasn’t sure luck could be made. Not in Germany anyway.”

An Excerpt from Fly Like A Bird

(December 1959)

Later that night, someone reported that Robert’s car briefly stopped outside the Coffey Shop then hurriedly drove back into the freezing rain that coated the roads with an invisible sheet of black ice.

The new Deputy Sheriff Charlie Carter, said the car carrying Robert and his wife, Barbara, skidded and swerved as it approached the two-lane Highway 69. He reported their new 1959 Pontiac Bonneville did not stop in time to avoid the oncoming tractor-trailer. The truck’s giant headlights must have appeared in the blackness of the storm-ravaged night, hazy through the cascade of freezing rain on their windshield. Bright-colored sparks exploded on the highway as the big truck dragged the mangled car beneath its belly.

And Ivy was left an orphan.

Fly Like a Bird

A young girl growing up in a small town in the Midwest during the 60s where everyone knows everything, discovers her family and the people in her town are keeping secrets about the night a car crash killed her parents. The secrets she uncovers and her efforts to leave the town that lied to her, force her to confront betrayal, death, racism, and the meaning of family.

My love for Iowa knows no bounds.

As a child, my small Iowa town offered me the freedom and safety of riding my bike all over town, the joy of the gently rolling hills, and the colorful, musical birds; the comfort of a community that knew my name, the thrill and competition of sports, and the close knit bond of friends and family that knew what I was up to at all times. Iowa gave me a great education and an expectation to succeed, the arena of state and national politics, and the ability to accept and appreciate the uniqueness in all of us.