Mapping the Bones
The year is 1942, and Chaim and Gittel, Polish twins, are forced from their beautiful home and made to live in the Lodz Ghetto. Their family's cramped quarters are awful, but when even those dire circumstances become too dangerous, their parents decide to make for the nearby Lagiewniki Forest, where partisan fighters are trying to shepherd Jews to freedom in Russia. The partisans take Chaim and Gittel, with promises that their parents will catch up -- but soon, everything goes wrong. Their small band of fighters is caught and killed. Chaim, Gittel, and their two friends are left alive, only to be sent off to Sobanek concentration camp.Chaim is quiet, a poet, and the twins often communicate through wordless exchanges of shared looks and their own invented sign language. But when they reach Sobanek, with its squalid conditions, rampant disease, and a building with a belching chimney that everyone is scared to so much as look at, the bond between Chaim and Gittel, once a source of strength, becomes a burden. For there is a doctor there looking to experiment on twins, and what he has in store for them is a horror they dare not imagine.

Mapping the Bones Details

TitleMapping the Bones
Author
ReleaseMar 6th, 2018
PublisherPhilomel Books
ISBN-139780399257780
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Young Adult, World War II, Holocaust, Fiction, War, Realistic Fiction, Adventure, Survival, Teen

Mapping the Bones Review

  • Jen Naughton
    January 1, 1970
    Mapping The BonesAh, back to 1942 and World War 2. It's been three weeks since my last historical fiction novel set in this period. It's with a heavy heart that I recommend this book. I don't want these things to have happened and yet here we are. We see the true suffering of all the victims of the Nazi regime.As the author points out in her endnotes this story has three parts, just like the story of Hansel and Gretel. Twins Chaim and Gittel's story begins in the ghetto, moves to the forest, and Mapping The BonesAh, back to 1942 and World War 2. It's been three weeks since my last historical fiction novel set in this period. It's with a heavy heart that I recommend this book. I don't want these things to have happened and yet here we are. We see the true suffering of all the victims of the Nazi regime.As the author points out in her endnotes this story has three parts, just like the story of Hansel and Gretel. Twins Chaim and Gittel's story begins in the ghetto, moves to the forest, and ends in the camp. Chaim is a poet and speaks as little as possible even though it is through his eyes that this story is told. His poetry is one of the highlights of the book. Gittel's story is told as well with her more analytical point of view and it is through her that we hear the conclusion of the story. It is remarkable how much I felt like I was a fly on the wall while reading this. Both teens voices were authentic and all the characters behaved just as you would imagine that you would in a similar horrifying situation. I'd save this one for older teens not only because of the graphic content of the true horror of Nazi work camps and doctors like Mendel but because of the tremendous sadness. This is a very heavy book in every sense of the phrase. The stories must be told, and the readers have a duty to ensure that these horrors never take place again, but the reader needs a certain amount of readiness for the material. I know that my 12yo is nowhere near ready for this book. Verdict- BuyPlease note that I received a free advance E ARC of this book from Edelweiss and Penguin Random House without a review requirement or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that, I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    Many thanks to Edelweiss and Penguin Random House for an advanced Kindle copy of this book. All opinions are my own.I was drawn to this tale of two children (Gittel and Chaim) during the Holocaust for a few reasons. 1-All of my students INHALE Holocaust books, so I like to keep a look out for new ones.2-Jane Yolen is an acclaimed author and highly recognizable in this style/genre, so I had high expectations.I was not disappointed. I have already added this book to my spring order for my middle s Many thanks to Edelweiss and Penguin Random House for an advanced Kindle copy of this book. All opinions are my own.I was drawn to this tale of two children (Gittel and Chaim) during the Holocaust for a few reasons. 1-All of my students INHALE Holocaust books, so I like to keep a look out for new ones.2-Jane Yolen is an acclaimed author and highly recognizable in this style/genre, so I had high expectations.I was not disappointed. I have already added this book to my spring order for my middle school library (serving grades 6-8) and have sent an email to all the reading teachers in my building to be aware that this book is coming out and that they will want a copy for their classroom libraries. This is a tale of two children who escape a ghetto, wander the wilderness and get within sights of the border, only to be found and taken into captivity in a labor camp. A labor camp where the smoke from the chimney is always visible and the threat is always real. Once there, they manage to survive making ammunition for the Fuhrer, but run into trouble when a Dr. shows up to help with a typhoid outbreak. He had previously worked with Dr. Mengele in Auschwitz and is eager to continue his studies on his own. This dark look at one of the horrific tragedies of the Holocaust is sure to engage readers.Review:Chaim and Gittel try to make the best of living in the ghetto with Mama and Papa, but eventually the family receives a "Wedding Invitation" signaling their spot on a list of deportees. Rather than taking their chances with that, they decide to escape to a safe house and go for the border. On the way, the children get separated from their parents and join a band of Resistance workers. This only lasts for so long until the kids are picked up by a group of German soldiers and taken to a labor camp. There, their small fingers and hands are prized for being able to do the delicate work on building ammunition for the German soldiers. It is also there that the children begin to see the awfulness of humanity when they are introduced to a Dr. who is eager to experiment on twins and conduct pain studies. This is a fast read that will leave readers breathless and angry and scared. Which is exactly what a powerful story about the Holocaust and the horrors of war should do. Highly recommend. Actual rating: 4.5/5
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  • Darla
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Penguin Random House and Edelweiss for an ARC of this novel.This is not a light and airy book -- it brings to mind "Night" by Eli Weisel although this particular work is historical fiction. Jane Yolen does a remarkable job of sharing the minds of twins Chaim and Gittel. Chaim is economical with the spoken word, but spins evocative poems out of the words he hears around him. My favorite portions of the book were Chaim's poems. Gittel's contributions are more analytical and she is giv Thank you to Penguin Random House and Edelweiss for an ARC of this novel.This is not a light and airy book -- it brings to mind "Night" by Eli Weisel although this particular work is historical fiction. Jane Yolen does a remarkable job of sharing the minds of twins Chaim and Gittel. Chaim is economical with the spoken word, but spins evocative poems out of the words he hears around him. My favorite portions of the book were Chaim's poems. Gittel's contributions are more analytical and she is given the honor of summing up the story for us. We see the true suffering of the children in three parts: the ghetto, the forest and the camp. Highly recommended!
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  • Tiffany
    January 1, 1970
    First I’d like to thank Penguin Teen for sponsoring the giveaway that I received this awesome advanced copy book from. All opinions within this review are my own.I have never been big on reading holocaust related books before (it’s just very upsetting for me) but decided to give this one a chance and I’m really happy that I did. Jane Yolen did such an amazing job writing this book and creating the world this story lives in. It brings more understanding and sheds more light on what actually happe First I’d like to thank Penguin Teen for sponsoring the giveaway that I received this awesome advanced copy book from. All opinions within this review are my own.I have never been big on reading holocaust related books before (it’s just very upsetting for me) but decided to give this one a chance and I’m really happy that I did. Jane Yolen did such an amazing job writing this book and creating the world this story lives in. It brings more understanding and sheds more light on what actually happened to so many people during this horrific time. It’s truly moving.
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  • Samantha Erhart
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Jane Yolen, Goodreads, Penguin Teen and Philomel Books for an advanced uncorrected galley of Mapping the Bones. I received my copy of this book as a giveaway, and my honest review is not required. Normally a 413 (ish) page book takes me around 2 days to get through. This book however, took me a couple more days. It was a hard, albeit good read. The subject matter is a hard one to stomach. This fictional story based in 1940s during the Holocaust follows the life of 4 children, Chaim, Thank you to Jane Yolen, Goodreads, Penguin Teen and Philomel Books for an advanced uncorrected galley of Mapping the Bones. I received my copy of this book as a giveaway, and my honest review is not required. Normally a 413 (ish) page book takes me around 2 days to get through. This book however, took me a couple more days. It was a hard, albeit good read. The subject matter is a hard one to stomach. This fictional story based in 1940s during the Holocaust follows the life of 4 children, Chaim, Gittel, Sophie and Bruno. This book is basically split into 2 parts. The first half of the book is the story of the 4 children and how they were forced from their homes into a Polish Ghetto by the Nazis, where they lived in squalor waiting for their " wedding invitation" to relocate them once again and their escape to the Polish border.The second part of the book follows the childrens capture by German soldiers and their placement in a labor camp where the children try to survive unclean water, spoiled food and the inhumane experiments done by the Doctor. (The Doctor is modeled off of Dr Mengele) While it was a very good read there were parts that i could have done without. Throughout the book, Chaim doesn't speak due to a severe stutter and uses hand signs that only his sister knows to communicate, but is able to proficiently speak through poetry. Because of this there is quite a bit of randomly placed poetry. Bruno has a superiority complex, which renders him rather annoying. I am not certain this was not done purposefully. The way the children are written rather annoyed me, because i felt a bit of their story was added mush, that could have been left out. My general annoyance with the children did not take away from the book as a whole, as i still gave it 4 stars. There is minor graphic explanations of the experiments performed at the camp. Marketed as a Young Adult Fiction genre for ages 12-18, I felt uncomfortable reading parts at 36. I would allow and encourage my teenagers to read this book, but provide them with a word of caution.
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  • Anna
    January 1, 1970
    Won from a Goodreads' giveawayThe characters may be fictional, but the events this heart wrenching story are based on are anything but fictional.Mapping the Bones follows a teenage boy Chaim, and his twin sister Gittel, after the Nazis have forced them from their home into a Jewish ghetto. From a tiny ghetto apartment, to forests, then eventually to a concentration camp, the twins find their family broken apart and their definition of normalcy frequently changing. While the main part of the stor Won from a Goodreads' giveawayThe characters may be fictional, but the events this heart wrenching story are based on are anything but fictional.Mapping the Bones follows a teenage boy Chaim, and his twin sister Gittel, after the Nazis have forced them from their home into a Jewish ghetto. From a tiny ghetto apartment, to forests, then eventually to a concentration camp, the twins find their family broken apart and their definition of normalcy frequently changing. While the main part of the story is from Chaim's point of view, Jane Yolen does a lovely job of also connecting the reader to his twin sister by adding short diary like entries called "Gittel Remembers" from her between the chapters. These give us a peek from a different point of view about the events happening, and also help us get to know Gittel herself and the bond between the twins better.Like many stories about the Holocaust, Mapping the Bones can be hard to stomach at times. Yolen doesn't censor the story just to make it easier to handle, and her descriptions give you a clear view into the horrors that the twins faced. The most chilling part of this book though might be that moment when you close it, and remember that it is based on very real events, that happened to real people...and that similar events are still happening in our world over 70 years later.
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