Just a Girl

A True Story of World War II

by Lia Levi

On Sale: 03/22/2022

Just a Girl

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Just a Girl

A True Story of World War II

by Lia Levi

illustrated by Jess Mason

On Sale: 03/22/2022


About the Book

In this award-winning memoir translated from Italian to English, a Jewish girl grows up during a difficult time of racial discrimination and war, and discovers light in unexpected places. This classic, powerful story from Lia Levi is adapted for young readers, with beautiful black-and-white illustrations, a family photo album, and a powerful author’s note to readers.

1938, Italy. Six-year-old Lia loves to build sandcastles at the beach and her biggest problem is her shyness and quiet, birdlike voice—until prime minister Mussolini joins forces with Hitler in World War II, and everything changes.

Now there are laws saying Jewish children can’t go to school, Jews can’t work, or go on vacation. It’s difficult for Lia to understand why this is happening to her family. When her father loses his job, they must give up their home and move from city to city.

As war comes closer, it becomes too dangerous to stay together, and Lia and her sisters are sent to hide at a convent. Will she ever be “just a girl” again?

The memoir is full of poignant moments of friendship and loss, dreaded tests at school, told in Lia's captivating voice, as she grows into a young teen. Just a Girl is an important addition to the WWII Jewish canon.

Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise

“Lia Levi adds her girlhood voice—so spunky, outspoken, and innocent—to the great children’s choir of Holocaust narratives. These voices, fewer each year, remind us of what was lost and what was learned.” –Lois Lowry, author of Number the Stars  -

"Lia’s young voice is perceptive and heartbreakingly vulnerable as she recounts her steadfast, even cheerful, acceptance of the changes in her life amid the insanity around her. A remarkable, powerful young readers’ adaptation of an award-winning World War II memoir." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"A quiet Jewish Italian child uprooted by war proves resilient in this endearing illustrated memoir...This account is neither rose colored nor naive, but it also doesn't focus unduly on the pain of Lia's Holocaust experience. [An] excellent step beyond Peter Sís’ Nicky and Vera (2021) for sensitive readers and gives voice to an underrepresented nationality among Holocaust survivor stories." - Booklist (starred review)


Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780063065086
  • ISBN 10: 0063065088
  • Imprint: HarperCollins
  • On Sale: 03/22/2022
  • Pages: 144
  • List Price:21.00 CAD
  • Ages: 8 to 12
  • BISAC1 : JUVENILE NONFICTION / Biography & Autobiography / Historical
  • BISAC2 : JUVENILE NONFICTION / Social Topics / Prejudice & Racism
  • BISAC3 : JUVENILE NONFICTION / Religion / Judaism
  • BISAC4 : JUVENILE NONFICTION / History / Holocaust

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