To Hope and Back

By Kathy Kacer
Level 6

Kathy Kacer has written over a dozen books about WWII for children and teens, and I love how each one of them features very unique circumstances, characters, and stories. To Hope and Back tells the true story of the St. Louis, a ship that carried over 900 Jews from Germany to Cuba to seek safety. The chapters switch off between the perspectives of Lisa, a young girl traveling in first class with her rich family, and Sol, a boy traveling in third class. After two weeks at sea, the passengers are denied entrance into Cuba, then the United States, and finally Canada. Where can they find refuge and safety? This story is beautifully told and was very eye opening to me. There is some content that may be too heavy for sensitive readers, such as a brief mention of a man on the ship committing suicide, and one of the character’s fathers being arrested by the Gestapo, but there are no graphic descriptions of violence.

(Reviewed by Kate Phillips)

Region Germany, Cuba, Europe
Period 1900s, 1930s, WWII
Genre Nonfiction, Historical Fiction
The Good and the Beautiful Library No
  • E-Book
  • 3.5 Entertainment Value
  • 4 Moral Value
  • 5 Educational Value
  • 4.5 Literary Value
Rating System