Book: My Real Name is Hanna by Tara Lynn Masih
categories: Book, Holocaust, Ukraine, World War II, Judaica, Young Adult, Jewish Folklore, Ukrainian Folklore, Historical Fiction
Tara Lynn Masih about this book: Recently, I've been asked a surprising number of times why I wrote this novel. The implied question underneath this one is, Why did you write this book if you aren't Jewish? (I know this because sometimes that's indeed the follow-up question.) Why does any writer write a book? Generally, because she or he wants to communicate something to the world. My Real Name Is Hanna is inspired by a true story about a family who hid from the Nazis in the underground gypsum caves of Ukraine. While my family is fictional, years of research went into the setting, history, food, Jewish and Ukrainian customs and folklore, geography (never my strong point), and survival skills the hideaways used. We see the war, which develops into a Holocaust, through the eyes of a young Jewish girl from a small shtetele. Why did a woman of mixed heritage (who didn't know she had Polish roots until the book was almost published) write this novel? Answer: To tell an important story that needed to be told to another generation. The novel does not revolve around the Holocaust—but the Holocaust forces Hanna on a harrowing physical and emotional journey. I hope it will resonate with everyone and leave readers in awe of just how much the human spirit can overcome.
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