Even though The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss is fiction it gave me great insight into live during World War II in Holland. Annie DeLeeuw was eight years old when the German army occupied Holland. She and her Jewish family are abused and prohibited from leaving the country. Annie and her sister Sini are hidden from the Germans by the Hannick family. Within a few weeks they move in with the Oostervelds a Christian family, who are very kind. Annie and Sini live with their huge family. Unfortunately, the girls have to live in a cold and drab upstairs room of a farmhouse for almost two and a half years. When the Germans create headquarters outside the Oosterveld's living room they need to be very quiet. Fortunately, the Germans finally leave and are chased back to Germany by Canadians. In the end Annie and Sini can start a new life. I can't imagine living through war time. Luckilly the girls met a very kind family who hid them from the Germans. I enjoyed reading this book of historical fiction. It gave me insight into German occupied Holland during WWII. I would give this easy to read excellent novel 3 stars! I really enjoyed the character development and the description of life in Holland during WWII. At times it got boring and tedious but overall is was a great book. We are so fortunate to live in a world in the U.S where we don't have to hide from enemies and live in a democracy.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.02emilyn
The main issue of the book is World War Two. Annie is a Jew, and so she had to hide from the Nazis. She and her sister, Sini, have to separate from the rest of their family. They have to hide in an upstairs room. This book is set in the Holocaust. They live in Holland. This book wouldn't even be a good book if it wasn't in this setting. The whole book has to do with the Holocaust, so if it weren't it wouldn't be a book. The main character is Annie. She's a little girl. She has to go through a lot, and she doesn't even realize the real threat of the war for a long time. The antagonist would be Adolf Hitler. He is the whole reason this whole thing happened. He was really mean, and killed most of the Jews.I really liked this book. One of the things I liked the most is how real it feels. The author is the main character so it really gives you a feel for it. It really helped me realize how terrible this time was, and how scary it was for the Jews."Jew, Jew, ugly mole, stick your face in a dirty hole. Stick your face in a mustard pot, by tomorrow Jew will rot" I disliked that quote cause it shows how mean the gentiles are to the Jews. Theme: Those who try their hardest and do the most that they can do, usually get what they want.I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants a new way to learn about World War Two. I didn't notice the real problems of it till I read this book.Melissa Winterman
A heart-wrenching look into what one family had to endure for years, and where it led them. The characters are lovable and believable, and tis is well written.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.Tiffany Wacaser
I had never heard of this little book, but happened upon it at the library while my kids were at storytime. It is a true story of two Jewish girls who lived with a Dutch family, secretly, for two years at the end of World War II. The story is told from the younger girl's perspective and is related simply without excessive emotion or excessive explanations. Without embellishment you see the way events unfolded for the Jews in Holland as they faced uncertainty and then great fear when the Germans invaded and then occupied Holland. The story doesn't go into a lot of detail about what happened to those Jews who were taken to camps and then killed. But it lies in the back of the mind of the reader throughout the story. What is remarkable is that the family who hid the girls grew to love them very much. This is a story about courage and relationships as much as it is about the war. The author said she wrote the book to record her history for her daughters. As such, it is a touching book. I think it would be a good introduction to the Holocaust for younger readers. In comparing it to The Diary of Anne Frank, I would have to say that Anne Frank's diary is much more intense because she lived in Amsterdam and the fear of being discovered was much more frightening. And of course, we know that Anne was caught and died at a camp. What makes The Upstairs Room different is that she survived and had to live with what had happened to her and many others. It seems she transcended her experiences and lived a good life. But be prepared, the last page probably describes all the emotion, tension and fear of the two years of hiding in a sentence that somehow makes the impact that much more powerful than if it had been repeated over and over again throughout the book.Becca
I read this to the kids for History as it's a story of a young Jewish girl who had to go into hiding in Holland during WWII. It's the author's true story and made very real through her writing. I loved the "Postscript" as the author shared her experience as an adult, taking her daughters back to Holland to see the house where she hid, meet the family that hid her, and see her old hiding place. It was emotional for me envisioning that.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.Allison Ford
The book is about a Dutch Jewish girl's two-and-one-half years spent in hiding in the upstairs bedroom of a farmer's house during World War II. It reminds me of the story about Anne Frank. Which i read in 7th grade. This was a good story to explain the hard times that the Jewish people had to go through during the Holocaust. It tells the story from a child’s perspective made the story even more real for the reader. She described all the hardships she and her family faced. 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 an essay putting themselves in the same situation.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.Shanda
A thoughtful look back at her experiences during World War II, Johanna Reiss tells the story of Sini and Annie, Jewish sisters in Holland who spend nearly three years in hiding to avoid capture by the Nazis. This is a sweet, if you can call something about this subject sweet, innocent story told through ten-year-old Annie's eyes. At first she doesn't understand the war and why people start to treat her differently just because she is Jewish. She talks about the stars that they have to start wearing on their clothes and the tree where notices are posted that "tells them they can't work anymore" and other demands that grow in seriousness. When they are first taken in to hiding, Annie doesn't really understand it and hates the boredom and stiffness of a life lived in an upstairs room, but she bears it with patience and optimism. She finally gets the chance to read the "real newspapers, not just the ones that tell lies" and reads of the concentration camps and what is really happening and then in this realization she promises to never complain about having to stay away from the windows and hide again.I was touched by the kindness of the family who takes in the sisters and others that help them even though they could be executed for it. It speaks to the human spirit that I find to be generally good and has the courage to act. This is a special read that shows the terror of the war in a meaningful way. I really liked the story told through Annie's eyes.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.Mary
Although this book is excruciating to read, it gives a clearer picture than I have ever encountered of the life of a child in hiding. Anne Frank is of course the classic in this regard, and her book has a unique place. But The Upstairs Room portrays a far more typical situation, where there wasn't nearly the level of support the Franks received from a whole circle of people, nor anything like the relatively luxurious amount of space they had. Although I've read a lot about the Holocaust and Resistance in the Netherlands, few books have haunted me the way this one did.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.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.