The Journey Back

ISBN: 0064470423
ISBN 13: 9780064470421
By: Johanna Reiss

Check Price Now


Childhood Children's Books Currently Reading Historical Historical Fiction Holocaust To Read War Wwii Young Adult

About this book

Holland, 1945 - World War II has finally ended. For thirteen-year-old Annie de Leeuw and her sister Sini, almost three years of hiding from the Germans in the upstairs room of a remote farmhouse have also ended. Saying good-bye to the courageous family who hid them is very difficult. And Annie finds that being home again isn't easy either. Her mother is dead; her father, distant and distracted. Sini is out dancing with the soldiers every night, trying to make up for lost time, and Annie's oldest sister, Rachel, has become a Christian. Soon Annie has another problem - getting used to a new stepmother she cannot seem to please. Annie learns that though the fighting is over, some of the wounds of the war still remain. Her old home is gone. Now she must build a new life for herself.

Reader's Thoughts


I normally have to take a break between a book and its sequel or bokos in a series, but I read this as soon as I finished rereading The Upstairs Room, which I read in maybe fourth grade, because they are both RIVETING. In this sequel, Reiss eloquently shows through a child's eyes how the years after the war were really when the sadness of it hit. Annie has to leave her beloved caretakers and return to a now-estranged family. She fails to make friends when school reopens, and her father remarries to an unsympathetic rich woman.


DUTCH AFTERMATHThis sequel to THE UPSTAIRS ROOM continues the story of young Annie, slightly lame, and her older sister, Sini, who have spent three years in hiding with a kind Gentile family. Now the war is over and they are all free to live together as a Jewish family in Holland, to pick up the shattered pieces of their lives after Nazi persecution. But nothing is that simple, for they are not quite the same people. The pre-War status quo can never be recreated after years of suffering and humiliation. It is hard for Annie to leave the warm farm family who took them into their home and their hearts. Why does she experience so many conflicting emotions now that she is Free? Reluctance to leave her country haven; Despair over the endless quarrels between Sini and their father; Frustration at unsuccessful attempts to please a snobby, prejudiced step-mother. Why should she be forced to leave the family which has provided her with more than physical safety--who renew their offers of love and acceptance just as she is? What does the blended family have to tempt her, now that Sini wants to leave and Annie can not compete with her new sister-in-law? Because the Nazi threat has been removed, the story obviously lacks the intensity and nervous anxiety of its more famous predecessor; the dangers are not life-threatening but soul-disturbing. Annie struggles to fit into a new role, yet her gratitude and childlike feelings are all directed to toward the Past. She was safe and comfortable with her wartime hosts even when the Nazis were suspicious, because she held a special place of love in their home. Can her father ever make it up to her? A thoughtful but somewhat disappointing read. (May 28, 2011. I welcome dialogue with teachers.)


Easy read, sequel to "the upstairs room". The author gives an insight to what it was like to survive the war and have to start over again and how her life and the life of other Jews changed after surviving the war. Surviving the war was certainly not easy, but living after it was not that easy either.


Sequel to The Upstairs Room

Linda Lipko

This is the sequel to The Upstairs Room. The author's previous work was a Newbery honor book which told her story (via the character of Annie de Leeuw) of hiding in an attic for three years while Hitler's evil forces hunted down Jews like animals. Fortunately, Reiss and her sister were hidden by a farm family, poor in finances, but rich in human kindness.The Journey Back chronicles the difficulty of post war Holland and the adjustment not only for the country, but for those who are now struggling to pull their lives together. While originally happy to be reunited with her father and sisters, soon the family fabric is torn apart by stress. Longing to be with the family who hid her, yet hoping to embrace her biological family, like many, the impact of war forever scars.


Well, that ended rather abruptly!

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *