The series takes place during World War II and follows the Platts, a Jewish family that flees Germany just before the war begins. Although the family was prosperous in Germany, where the father owned his own business selling coats, getting to America proves to be difficult, and getting established in their new country after their arrival is a struggle. Throughout the family’s personal difficulties and triumphs, the war goes on in the background, and readers can see how it affects their lives and the lives of people they know.
The first two books are told from the point of view of Lisa, the middle of the three daughters in the family. Lisa loved ballet when she lived in Germany, but it takes her some time before she is able to enjoy it again in the United States. She later develops a talent for sewing. Her older sister, Ruth, used to love to play violin, but she cannot bring herself to play again when she has the chance in America because it brings back painful memories for her, how her violin was confiscated from her when she boarded the train out of Germany. Annie, the youngest sister, remembers very little about their life in Germany because she was very young when they left and ends up becoming more typically American than the other members of the family. The third book in the series is from Annie’s point of view.
The author, Sonia Levitin, also fled Germany with her family to escape World War II, and the stories are semi-autobiographical.
Books in the Series:
With the Nazis in power in Germany, hate crimes are being committed against the Jews, and their lives are restricted in many ways. The Platts know that they have to leave, but they can’t make their departure too obvious, and getting out of Germany is only the first step in a long journey.
The Platt family has reunited in the United States after a long journey. Now, they struggle to establish themselves in their new country and adapt to an unfamiliar language and culture as great changes happen in the world around them and in the lives of the girls, who are growing up.
Annie remembers very little of her family’s old life in Germany. As she grows up, she struggles to establish her identity as an independent young woman in America, but she also comes to understand her family and its history better.