The Year of GoodbyesSpring 2010 Historical Fiction
German schoolgirls kept poesiealbums, scrapbooks for their friends to record notes, drawings, and favorite quotes. For Jutta Salzberg, in the year 1938, the poesiealbum was primarily a place for her Jewish friends and relatives to record farewells, warnings, and wishes for better times. That was the year that the Nazis made a rule that Jutta could no longer attend her school. That was the year that they began rounding up Jews from Eastern Europe, and sending them to concentration camps. And that was the year that Jutta's father, no longer able to work at his former employment, began working instead to get the family visas to America.
Debbie Levy creates this verse novel using her mother Jutta's poesiealbum as the starting point. Reproductions of the actual pages begin each chapter, and free-verse poems expand upon Jutta's feelings following each friend's entry. Many young readers will be interested by the "real-life" inspiration of this novel, especially those who are interested in the Holocaust. The poetry is both accessible and expressive, making this short book a good introduction to the genres of Holocaust literature and diary literature.