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Malka (Young Picador) Paperback – 6 Jun 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books; New edition edition (6 Jun. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 033039990X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330399906
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,537,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


At times shocking and at others tender, it provides an accurate portrayal of ordinary people during occupation... -- The Bookseller, 19 July 02

Pressler... above all portrays with warmth and conviction an extraordinary story of survival. -- Lesley Agnew in The Bookseller, 23 August 02 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Mirjam Pressler was born in Darmstadt in 1940 and now lives in the Bavarian countryside. She is the award-winning author of several novels for young people, which have been translated into many languages. A highly regarded expert on the life of Anne Frank, she was the editor of the Definitive Edition of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, and also translator of the Diary from Dutch into German. She is the author of The Story of Anne Frank and the novel, Shylock's Daughter, also published by Macmillan.

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THE DAY IT ALL began wasn't the least bit different from the days before, except that it was maybe a little hotter. Read the first page
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By Dr R TOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback
This book describes the lives of a Jewish family, 7-year old Malka Mai, her elder sister, Minna and her mother, Hannah, a doctor, between September 1943 and March 1944 when they are forced to leave their Polish home and flee first to Hungary and then, it is hoped, to Yeretz-Yisrael where their father is living. During their flight, Malka falls ill and has to be left with a family in the hope that she can be reunited with her family when the threat has passed. The story describes, from the perspectives of Malka and her mother, their subsequent experiences and the resultant physical and emotional effects that these produce. By the end of the book all are unrecognisable as the individuals we met at its beginning.

Malka was written for children but could equally be read by adults. Unfortunately, the main characters remained frustratingly two-dimensional and the most vivid writing describes the feelings of her mother's guilt for leaving her behind and of Malka's own relief when she met individuals who helped her despite the dangers to themselves and her despair when this security was taken away. The author describes the feelings of Malka's desperate hunger and of her loss of her doll, Liesel, who is as much a character as her family in the first half of the book.

This book was translated from the original German by Brian Murdoch. In an afterword the author described meeting Malka, then a mother and grandmother, in Israel in 1996 and hearing her story which was fragmentary because of her youth and the way that her mind had protected her by suppressing many of her experiences. Mirjam Pressler, the author of "the Story of Anne Frank" and "Shylock's Daughter", has taken these elements and weaved a fictional story from them.

I would recommend this book because it reflects part of Europe's history that is still within personal memory. However, on completing it I was left with a feeling of dissatisfaction. Others might have a different opinion.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Unforgettable Holocaust story based on the life of a child survivor 1 Dec. 2013
By Nonfiction Only - Published on
Verified Purchase
It's rare to find such a story of Holocaust survival and even more rare to have that story reflect what a child experienced. This book is based on the true story of one young girl who, during an attempt to escape capture and imprisonment, lost her mother, her sister, and all others whom she could trust yet she managed to survive. Her survival was not without lifelong consequences. It is an unforgettable story of the will to survive enmeshed within the social shame of an era that deliberately discriminated against people during a time when in many countries, including the U.S., eugenics found favor.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Malka - 5 (non yellow) stars 11 Oct. 2012
By Mrs. J. Howe - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
i recently read this book over a w/end between washer cycles, pegging out, hoovering etc. From the start i was hooked and hated to put it down. youre given enough information and then your imagination can do its work. its not wordy, or overly sentimental either. I can recommend it as a good introduction to recent history, with no un-necessary horror or detail, the beautiful writing is enough.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Malka 17 Mar. 2006
A Kid's Review - Published on
Format: Hardcover
It was a warm summer day and Malka's mother, Hannah had just mended a patient, when the German Police invaded the village of Kalne and a German officer told Hannah that she should take herself and her children across the Hungarian boarder. Ivan was the first guide that helped Malka, Hannah, and Minna, and he Guided them to the house of Mrs. Kowalski who offered to care for Malka so that she wouldn't have to walk anymore, but Hannah declined. Mrs. Kowalski told them about a man named Kapolowici who was a Jew tobacco smuggler. After crossing the Hungarian boarder Malka became ill, and Hannah looked to find Kapolowici and after Hannah convinced him to help her she took Malka into the home. Kapolowici promised that he would take Malka to Mukachevo to meet back up with Hannah and Minna, but after his neighbors suspected him of helping the girl he just shoved her out onto the street without anything at all. She wandered the streets for hours until the noise and smell of an inn drew her in, where she was then arrested. Then a man named Zygmunt smuggled her out of the boarder police station and took her to his home where Teresa, Julek, Mytek, and other sons where she lived happily for many weeks until a German officer found out what Zygmunt was doing and he was forced to take Malka to a Jewish ghetto where she lived with the Goldfaden family until there was an operation and Malka was left alone. Malka then left and hitched a ride on a train and reached Germany and fell sick in the train and when she got stuck in a trashcan and was picked up and woke up in a hospital. Then a man found her and took her to her mother but by then she had forgotten who her mother was.

I liked this book because it had a lot of information about how ad life was for Jews in the 1940's. The German officer was talking to Hannah about escaping across the boarder, and he talked really loud so that other people could hear, a Jew is a Jew and there is no difference no matter what. Malka and her family ere forced to leave their home because they were living in fear of the Germans. Jews also lived in the ghettoes of cities because of racial segregation. Germans also created operations where they resettled Jews and eventually killed them.

I did not like this book because of how poorly Malka was treated. First of all the Kapolowici's promised to take Malka to Mukachevo but instead he pushed her out on the street. Then after she was released from the prison with Yossel and Shlomo promised that take Malka over the mountains but when she woke up they were gone. Then when Malka was in the ghetto and there was an operation the Goldfadens left her there because they said that they didn't have enough supplies for her but they really just did not want to care for her anymore.

I really liked this book because it described many places and living conditions during its time period. This book took place in many different places, such as Poland, Hungary, and Germany. The family of escapees traveled across dandelion fields, mountains, grasslands, and forests. When Malka lived in Lawacozne she lived in a nice house and when they got across the boarder they were still seeing houses, but when Hannah and Minna got to the camp for Poland escapees they were living in very small and cramped apartments with horrible living conditions.

I really liked this book because I learned more about living conditions for Jews in the 1940's. I disliked this book because of how Malka was treated but I also liked this book because it had a lot different scenery. I really thought this book was very good but there were also some parts that I did not like.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A powerful, emotional maelstrom that won't let go 14 Nov. 2003
By D. Davidson - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was an incredible experience... I read it in one sitting because I couldn't bear to stop. It was such a powerful look into the reality of what Hitler did, not only to the Jews, but how he brought out the best and worst of the Germans and othe people. I was impressed by the reality of the character descriptions... every person in the story was imperfect, as all people are. It was painfully easy to identify with some of the characters. This may be a bit powerful for younger readers, but will be an excellent discussion starter for teens (and adults) who could use some insight into cause and effect.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Bittersweetly Wonderful Story!!! 14 May 2007
A Kid's Review - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Malka is clearly a five star book. It tells about all the hardships Malka, her sister Minna, and her mother Hannah went through during the Holocaust on their flee to Hungary and away from their homeland of Lawoczne, Poland. I could not stop reading after I started. I had to go on. I kept wondering; what will happen to Malka or Minna or Hannah? Will they survive? Right from the start, I got hooked on the bittersweet story of Malka and her family. I guarantee you that you will love this book, even if you don't like historical fiction!
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