Jana Zinser – Book Reviews

Book Review on Colorado Country Life Magazine

The Children’s Train: Escape on the Kindertransport by Jana Zinser

By Jennifer Nelson –

This remarkable novel centers on Peter, a shy violin player who was among the Jewish children hurriedly put on trains out of Germany in 1938 after The Night of the Broken Glass. Peter, his sister Becca and his friends Stephen and Hans represent the hundreds of children whose parents hurriedly scrambles to get their children away from Nazi Germany.

In this story told by Castle Rock author Jana Zinser, Peter and the others make it to England, where they expect to be safe. But when the war reaches England and the Coventry farm where Peter is working his musician hands raw is bombed, Peter decides he has to stand and fight. It’s back to Germany where he joins the underground resistance, searches for his mother and baby sister and works to rescue a childhood friend left behind.

Find this book (Boutique of Quality Books, $18.95) released October 26 at local and online bookstores.

5 Stars. “Zinser has written a heart-wrenching, epic story that follows lives of several children that survived (as well as the fates of their families); from the beginning occupation through the end of the war. Zinser takes readers from escape of occupied territories, into hiding, to safety, the concentration camps; and then back undercover behind enemy lines.

As someone that has had an ongoing interest in Holocaust studies and education, what I really like about The Children’s Train is that this novel gives the reader an in depth look; both in varying viewpoints and through a broad scope of experiences, making it a perfect introductory-look into the history of the Holocaust. It is thoroughly engaging from start to finish. After reading, you not only have a better picture of the many devastating situations endured by Holocaust victims and survivors; you also have a clearer understanding of Nazi and German (not mutually inclusive) people’s positions and actions. Yes, some believed in Hitler’s plan of hate. Others acted based on financial reasoning and many more out of fear.

The subject matter may be a little heavy for young readers but I’d certainly recommend it for high school through adults. Zinser tells the story simply, without over-dramatizing or trying to be graphically-shocking. By the very nature of the events, even through the author’s delicate handling, it might be too overwhelming for younger children.

The young lives of Peter, Eva and all the others will tug at your heart and inspire you. You’ll discover hope in humanity though quiet, unassuming acts of courage and heroism; and mourn the lives of those that were lost.

Though 10,000 children may have been spared by the Kindertransport; 6 million Jews lost their lives at the hands of the Nazis — many of them children. This is their unforgettable story.”

~Jeff Linamen for How Do You Measure 525600 Minutes? A Year in the Life

“I recently read the book “The Children’s Train” written by Jana Zinser. It is a book that I have not been able to stop thinking about. The fact that there was a children’s train and the circumstances behind it are terrible enough. But the children’s and families stories that are described in the book were so heartbreaking and so realistic. The story of Eddie and his family, I will think about forever. there were many families featured in the book and how their lives were changed by the Kindertransport.

I’m soo glad I read this book and will definitely be praising it to friends of mine. The book was so well written that after I finished the book I wanted to delve into any information I could find about the children of the Kindertransport to see if I could find any other information about them. I highly recommend this book. Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book for my honest opinion. 5 out of 5 stars!!!”

~Nickie Elliot — A Joy of Reading Blog

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