Parents' Guide to


By Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Swastika in middle school launches complex, uneasy tale.

Linked Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 1 parent review

age 8+

There is never a wrong time to look back at others mistakes, and learn from them.

While some parents will feel this shouldn't be in a middle school library, I disagree. I feel students that have an advanced reading ability can absolutely understand and read this at 8-10 years old. I have it in my library for 2nd-grade students to check out. If they can read the back or inside cover and feel that they would enjoy or learn from the book, I allow them to check it out. My children are 9 and 11 and I would have absolutely let them check this book out when they were both in 2nd grade, and now. Learning about what happened with the Nazis and the Jews is a valuable lesson, and having that knowledge will, hopefully, keep it from ever happening again.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (3 ):

There are lots of relatable moments and few easy answers in this positive but unsettling tale of swastikas in a small-town middle school and the Holocaust memorial project that springs up in response. As the town grapples with the unexpected hate eruption, more surprises, revelations, and plot twists emerge, and characters see a different side of people and places they've known their whole lives. The results can be life-changing: "It seems like a million years ago that I was an ordinary kid who thought nothing was more important than some upcoming sports season and my next dumb prank with Jordan and Pouncey. I barely even noticed the scientists' kids, and Jewish was something somebody else was in places far away from Chokecherry. I'm not sure I was happier then, but my life was a lot less complicated."

Book Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate