I have a fascination with anything set around World War II and When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr continues that theme for me. Published in 1971, it is a semi-autobiographical novel of nine-year-old Anna and her family. Set just as Hitler comes to power in 1933, Anna’s father has campaigned against the Nazi party and the family flees from their home country of Germany to Switzerland, then Paris, then England.
Although their lives are now less at risk then if they had stayed in Germany, with each move comes its own set of challenges. Anna just wants to make friends and attend school. Learning each new language is difficult and adjusting to living with less and less isn’t easy. What Anna and her brother learn is it doesn’t matter where you live, what really matters is being together as a family.
“Difficult childhood . . . ” she thought. The past and the present slid apart. She remembered the long, weary journey from Berlin with Mama, how it had rained, and how she had read Gunther’s book and wished for a difficult childhood to that she might one day become famous. Had her wish then come true? Could her life since she had left Germany really be described as a difficult childhood?
She thought of the flat in Paris and the Gasthof Zwirn. No, it was absurd. Some things had been difficult, but it had always been interesting and often funny – and she and Man and Mama and Papa had nearly always been together. As long as they were together she could never have a difficult childhood.
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Genre: Historical middle grade fiction, approx ages 9-12.
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile. Reprint November 10, 1997. Originally published 1971.
Paperback, 191 pages. ISBN 0698115899
Source copy: Library
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit is available from your favorite independent bookstore, Powell’s, and Amazon.