The Missing: The True Story of My Family in World War II
“They were there at the beginning of the war, but they were gone by the end. I suppose they died in the camps.”
That’s all young Michael Rosen, born in England just after the end of the Second World War, was told about the six great-aunts and great-uncles who had been living in Poland or France at the beginning of that war. This wasn’t enough for him. So, as an adult, he started to search. He asked relatives for any papers they might have. He read book after book. He searched online, time and again, as more information was digitized and suddenly there to be found. In a unique mix of memoir, history, and poetry, scholar and children’s literature luminary Michael Rosen explores his family history, digging up more details than he ever thought he would and sharing them with readers so that now, a lifetime after the Nazis tried to make the world forget the Rosen family and the rest of Europe’s Jews, his readers can do something essential: remember. With an extensive list of titles for further reading, maps of France and Poland, a family tree, and an introduction by lauded author and anthologist Marc Aronson, this immensely readable narrative offers a vital tool for talking to children about the Holocaust against the background of the ongoing refugee crisis.
There are poems interspersed throughout the pages of the book that add metaphorical value, drawing readers into the world of WWII and what was happening during that time period.
Despite a bit of confusion here and there with similar names, which cannot really be helped since the author is using real names, the story does a nice job of engaging readers in the struggle that too many feel when they are forced to run and don't know where to go or what to do once there. The section with further reading in the back of the book provides a lot of great material for firsthand accounts, fiction, and nonfiction to allow readers, whether younger or older, to further ensure their understanding of what this time period involved and how we must never forget its impact.