I think because I have read many books about WWII--fiction and non-fiction alike, this book for me pales in comparison to them. It is definitely an easy read, and of course the subject matter is interesting, but I felt like nothing really happened. The author didn't adequately convey the despair those poor Jews must have felt at having to hide for so long. If the characters were more endearing, and their development stronger, I would have liked this book a lot more.Jungho L.
The Upstairs room was about a Jewish family during the Holocaust. They live in Holland when the war happens and they are forced to move away from their homes in order to be safe from the Nazi's. The family are split up later in the book and they go to other family's houses to hide from the Nazi. They are fortunate of not getting caught but they almost do. They survive the war and live happily every after.I think this book was very fun to read because it was so well in detail. I felt like I was actually in the story. On part in particular was when the Germans came into a house to see if any Jews were hiding in there(which there were). It told us the noises, the Jew's feelings, and their thoughts when this event happened. Also this book was very interesting because I learned many new things about what the Jewish people had to deal with in the other family's home. Because in the story, in states that they always had to stay supper quiet and they weren't allowed outside. That was a fact I did not know about. Also that the Nazi's even took Jews from hospitals to concentration camps. This book made me feel more hatred towards the Nazi's and Hitler.I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in mind tingling stories and are eager to know more about the Jewish life during the Holocaust because the story made me really anxious and it was very hard to predict and also because it taught us a lot about the daily Jewish life during the Holocaust. And also I would like to recommend this book to people who enjoy adventure books because there is a lot of fun and exciting adventures in this book.Karalee
I read this book because it fulfilled a category (award winner from the year I was born) in a book challenge in which I am participating. It is about two Jewish sisters in Holland who hide out in the upstairs room of a Dutch family's home during World War II to escape the Nazis. The premise is obviously extremely interesting but the book actually was somewhat boring. Perhaps that was deliberate to reflect the boredom the two girls felt shut upstairs in hiding for more than two years but I just didn't really enjoy this book. I felt that the main character, Annie, who is 10 when the hiding begins, was (even for a 10 year old) totally oblivious to what was going on and the seriousness of their situation for most of the book. That just didn't resonate given the circumstances.Ruby Tuesday
I've read countless books about the Holocaust and I won't outline the plot. However, I couldn't help but chuckle at the dialogue between the Oosterveld's (the family who hide Annie and her sister) which was quite unexpected for a book on this topic. It really shone through that these people were simple country folk but with very big hearts. A lovely read and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel.Tanner Huyck
In 1940 German tanks and soldiers invaded the city of Holland and then marched right along into Winterswijk,the hometown of Anne de Leeuw. Annie was a ten year old Jewish girl in danger of being captured by the Germans and taken to a concentration camp. Together her and her sister had to abandon their mother, father, and older sister to go into hiding in the upstairs room of a rural farmhouse. Johanna de Leeuw Reiss wrote a fantastic novel giving in depth detail about her personal accounts as a young girl living during World War II. The book provided great emotion and detail about life in the upstairs room and the thoughts going throughout her and Sinni, her sister. The book provides a level of optimism and strength as to being able to overcome difficult situations and know that everything will be alright. This is a classic and memorizing book that will be around to read for many years.Gale
"Why do we have to become Invisible?"Set in Holland during the early 40's this first person story relates the persecution and hardships of the Jewish community under Nazi occupation. Ten-year-old Annie resents her decreasing personal freedom, diminished lifestyle, fragmented family and just generally being made to feel somehow odd in her own country. Her people are insulted, restricted, bullied, beaten and sent to "work" camps. The family unit disintegrates as Mother is hospitalized, Father goes Into Hiding in another town, and the oldest sister insists on making it on her own. The two sisters who remain together resent each other and bicker often. At great risk some courageous Dutch citizens help the persecuted family. As she contemplates her face in the mirror in the Upstairs Room, Annie wonders if she suddenly looks Jewish. Why is she, practically overnight, different from her Dutch friends? She also faces internal struggles during the almost 3 years spent in hiding with Sini (20). In times of extreme danger the sisters rush into a special hiding place behind a closet, or else play at being moles. It's not easy for a lively youngster to become invisible, instantly, or for a prolonged period of time. She rages against her sister, but most of all against the cramped spaces, restrictions on exercise, light and fresh air. In fact, Annie accidentally puts them all (including their generous host family) at risk by her immature behavior. Still the kindly farm family grows to love their girls; after the village is liberated, they all dread the inevitable separation. This story is true, written by Johanna Reiss to enlighten her own daughters about the human desire to live and enjoy life, as well as to praise the integrity of the Dutch nation. Elementary girls will sympathize with the emotional suffering of the young protagonist. (Feb. 15, 2011. I welcome dialogue with teachers.)Ginny Messina
This is the author’s own story—-written for her children—-of what it was like to live in a single room for three years, hiding from the Nazis, and losing precious years of childhood. She was 8 years old when she went into hiding along with her teenage sister. Because she lived this story and is a fine writer, Johanna Reiss does an outstanding job of depicting what a life in hiding is like for a child, especially one who doesn’t quite understand what is at stake. She also portrays her protectors—-an uneducated farm family--with warmth and honesty. They were frankly terrified and not very enthusiastic at first, but found themselves drawn into a commitment to keep the girls safe for the rest of the war against some incredible odds. Holocaust memoirs tend to be extraordinary, and this one is no exception.Meloney Meyer
I read the book The Upstairs Room. “Johanna Reiss” is good to explain her life between the Jews and the Germans. It gave me more information about the Jews and the Germans. Johanna played a girl named Annie de Leeuw when she was a little girl. All of her family was Jews. Annie heard on the radio that the German army was in Denmark and Norway. It also gave me more information on how the World War II happened. This book lists a lot of things that had happened in World War II at the beginning and then tells how it ended. It tells us about someone’s life that was in the war. The history books tell you how it started and how it ended but did not tell you about someone’s life. The history books also tell you about the presidents and how they were in wars. All in all, this book lengthened my knowledge of the events of World War II. I have learned about the lives of those affected by the war and there is a clear example of racism between the Germans and the Jews.Laura
Many reviewers call this book "boring". It's true that there is little action, but what do you expect from a book in which two girls spend years hiding in an attic. What I had trouble with was the constant complaining and negativity. Yes, they were in a harrowing situation. But everybody - the girls and those hiding them - whined all the time. Very little hope or optimism about anything.I also found the language offensive and unnecessary, especially in a children's book.Samantha Duncan
1. Genre: Junior Book - Historical Fiction2. This is a deep book to read. It accounts for the personal experience of a young girl living during WWII worry about herself and her family because of the Germans plans for Jews. Annie and her little sister are required to live in the upstairs room of a remote farm house. They are trying to avoid being sent to labor camps and having to experience worse just for being Jewish. 3. (A) Area for comment: Characterization (B) The author does a great job of putting her experiences out through the characters in this story. As a reader you are able to imagine your life it it mimicked that of Annie and her sisters. You can feel the pain they experience emotionally as well as the optimism they have for their future. (C) The image show of Annie and her sister and the Oosterveld family they live with shows that there is hope for them. The optimism that you feel while seeing this allows you to feel like relief will come and life will all be ok for these girls during such a rough time. 4. This book would be great to incorporate into any history or social studies lesson. WWII is something that most children are required to study, so adding a well written book to the lesson will only help the students learn more and actually want to participate in the lesson.Sandra
Against my initial judgement of this book, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I am a type of person who likes to judge a book by its cover, and from this one, I thought the text might be a little too amatuer for my taste, but I found myself not wanting to put it down. The story begins in Winterswijk in the Netherlands and takes place during WWII. Annie, a young Jewish girl, and her sister, Sini, must hide out from the German soldiers and bounce around from hiding place to hiding place to avoid being sent to the concentration camps. From holes dug underground to tiny closet-spaced hole-in-the-walls, the story is told through the young and innocent eyes of Annie. Winner of the Newberry Honor Book, The Room Upstairs captivates its audience with terror, suspense, and an innocent sadness seen through the eyes of a six-year old girl.Lindsay
I read this book originally as a 4th grader. In undergrad, as a sophomore in a class called "Jews and Anti-Semitism," I did an Honors Option where my professor (noted Holocaust scholar Kenneth Waltzer) assigned us to investigate true-life Holocaust memoirs. I picked this book, since I read it to pieces as a child, and I liked the way it had a quasi-happy ending (something you don't often get from Holocaust stories). I also managed to find the author on the Internet and wrote her a letter, to which she responded quite kindly. It is one of my most prized possessions, because I never thought she would write back, as it would be easy to blow off an American college student when you're elderly and living in Europe. I highly recommend this book and commend the author for all of her dedication to educating children.Elida
Elida AlmarazMs.KwanAdvisory9D/901The Upstairs RoomBy: Johanna ReissBook Review The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss is about a jewish girl named Annie. Annie suffers when people of her kind are treated unfairly. it isn't safe for her and her family to stay in their country which is why they have to go away. It was to late to leave because Holland's borders were now being guarded by German Soldiers. The De Lueew family were under bad circumstances and caused Annie's parents to make drastic decisions. Annie's family had to split it leading this situation to more trouble. Johanna Reiss teaches us a lesson on how people had to suffer in order to be safe. Books like The Upstairs Room shows and teaches the readers historical events and information on what people did. Annie is a perfect example of how the historical event of the Holocausts had a huge impact on the jewish community.Carissa Camp
I can only figure this book has been banned for language because otherwise, it shows an amazing similarity to the more popular Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl. Both go by Anne/Annie, both live in Holland and both hide throughout most of WWII. Annie and her sister Sini get to go outside, however. I really like how Annie personifies the tree, at first with its laws from the Nazis as the war heats up. And then by the end, Annie makes the window her friend, even arguing with it on occasion. Johan, Opoe and Dientje are so heroic, yet they are simple, everyday kind of people.I appreciate how Annie's legs have difficulty moving after so little exercise and then in the end, she finds it so scary to go outside that she contemplates not going. I never thought about how the transition to freedom would be harder than one would initially think. I definitely am going to find the sequel to see how all these endearing people handled the next stage in their lives after the war.This is another book I would give 4 1/2 stars if I could.Alison Flemming
The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss (Harper Trophy) 196p. Historical Fiction. (in textbook). Summary: This book takes place during the time of the Holocaust with a family who is Jewish. It describes how hard the times were and what the family had to go through since they were Jewish. Critique:a. This was a good story to explain the hard times that the Jewish people had to go through during the Holocaust.b. Telling the story from a child’s perspective made the story even more heartwarming. She described all the hardships she and her family faced. c. On page 52 she describes being locked in the room while it’s snowing and other children are playing outside and building snowmen. Then on page 156 she describes the house that they are hiding in is now suppose to become German headquarters. This poses a major problem for them. Curriculum Connection: This would be a good book for older elementary or middle school students to read when discussing World War II and the Holocaust. This is a good book from the perspective of a girl during this time. The students could write response journals while they are reading the book or write an essay after they are done with the book putting themselves in that situation.