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ISBN: 8423927636
ISBN 13: 9788423927630
By: Johanna Reiss

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Childrens Currently Reading Fiction Historical Fiction History Holocaust To Read Wwii Ya Young Adult

About this book

The autobiographical decription of 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.

Reader's Thoughts

Alexa SOF2014

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.


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.


The upstairs room is about a girl that is Jewish and she is about 12 years old. The German war is going on, and she is hiding from the Nazis.I don’t recommend this book I thought it was kind of boring but that’s my opinion. If you are looking for a book that you can just sit down and read, read this one.I thought it was cool how they dyed their hair at the beginning of the story. I thought it was a good spot where they were hiding but I feel like they could have hidden better like in the walls or something. I give this book a 1 out of 5 stars it was not that good. I think i'm going to read the diary of Anne Frank next.


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.

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.

Andrea Fife

I bought this book at a secondhand store with the hope to add it to my 5th grade library. Written from the perspective of a 10 year old, the sentence structure and vocabulary are at a perfect level for a young audience. However, the mildly profane language of a few adult characters will likely keep it off the classroom shelves. Instead, I will keep it in my home library, ready for my sons to read as an introduction to the haunting historical fiction and nonfiction from WWII.

Leah Beecher

This was a touching and educational book to read to my girls. It is a true story about a Gentile family in Holland that took in and hid two little Jewish girls they did not even know from another nearby town during the Nazi occupation. What was supposed to be for a month or two turned into two years. The author is the little girl Anna who was taken in. She wrote it some 30 years after the fact for her daughters. We did not finish it because it just was unable to keep a 5th and 4th grader's interest. Once the more dramatic elements of the story- the Nazis coming and family splitting up to go into hiding-passed and the author related what daily life was like living in "the upstairs room" my girls just lost interest. I kept telling them to "be quiet and listen", which is not the point of bed time chapter books. There were chapters, once we got about half way through, of almost entire dialogue. The author was trying to reveal what these people, noble as they were, were still indeed just people; with faults and quirks. I did a sort of speed read myself through the rest...though never actually finished...I know I should of.I still recommend it for perhaps teenage/young adult reading. It shows the compassion side of people at such a dark, evil time in history. Johanna Reiss stayed in contact with that family her entire life.A memoir that shows that great noble deeds are often preformed by ordinary people who simply rise to the occasion and do the right thing.

Chloe Chapman

I read the autobiography “The Upstairs Room” by Johanna Reiss. My favorite non-fiction books are about the Holocaust, and this book was on that topic. I wasn’t sure how I would like the book but it was really appealing and kept me reading. The book was told as the authors experience when she was younger. The book was a little bit boring at the beginning but go more interesting as it progressed. The author relayed information on how much distress was on the community and on Jewish people when the Nazis took over Germany. Annie de Leewu was the eight year old little girl that lived in Winterwijk with her sister Sini and her family. Germany attacked Holland two years later and the two girls had to leave their family and hide in the upstairs room of a remote farmhouse. Oosterveld family and the Gentile family were happy to take the girls in and care for them until their family came back. Annie and Sini were in danger because they are young Jewish girls and the Nazis were looking for them at the time. They were locked up in a small cramped room for two years instead of two months. It shows how the girls were so compassionate to be able to be so lucky during this time period and they always had each other. They had to hope for the best and keep their family members in their prayer because they didn’t know what was going to happen next. Nazis killed many Jews during the 1940s and Annie and Sini had to have strength everyday to motivate them to look on the bright side of the situation. It opens up my eyes to how grateful I am to not have to go everyday wondering if my family is still alive. These poor girls should not have to worry about such an awful idea. We should never take life for granted because one day you may have to go through as much pain as they did, and it may be something more painful, like death. I really enjoyed this book and it is one I would recommend to people who likes personal stories from the Holocaust. 4 out of 5 stars are what I give this book.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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