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Congratulations Eva Wiseman

Tuesday, Oct 16, 2007 at 10:20am

Winnipeg writer Eva Wiseman has won the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People for her book Kanada.

Kanada is the story of 14 year old Jutka, an Hungarian girl who survives Auschwitz, only to learn that her suffering is not over with the end of the war. Homeless, she lives in the hopelessness of refugee camps, wondering if there is a place for her anywhere in the world. The story is based on the experiences of Eva's family.

Kanada has also been short listed for the Governor General's Award for Children's Literature - Text.

Eva Wiseman has also written A Place Not Home, My Canary Yellow Star, winner of the McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award, and No One Must Know, winner of the Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award.

Categories: Awards

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Place Not Home

- by Eva Wiseman

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Life in Communist Hungary isn't easy for thirteen-year-old Nelly. Food is scarce and so are clothes. But she has great friends and a special boy she likes, so the hardships are bearable.

When the Hungarian Revolution erupts in 1956, Nelly's world crumbles. Along with the Revolution comes a new tide of anti-Semitism. Nelly's family is Jewish, and her parents are convinced that the family must flee. Everything she cares about - her cozy room, her favourite books, and her closest friends - will have to stay behind. There's not time even to say good-bye.

Nelly's adventures during the family's harrowing escape to freedom are by turns funny and sad. Will she ever find a place to call home?

1998 New York Public Library's Book for the Teen Age Catalog and Exhibit Award

My Canary Yellow Star

- by Eva Wiseman

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The Second World War was a time of terrible injustices. It was also a time of incredible bravery. My Canary Yellow Star is the remarkable story of one of the last century's greatest heroes, Raoul Wallenberg, who was responsible for saving as many as 100,000 lives.

Young Marta's life in Budapest has been shattered by the war. First, her school closes. Jews are prohibited from attending classes. Then her father, along with other able-bodied men, is arrested and sent to work digging ditches on the eastern front. The family's apartment is confiscated, and Marta, her brother, and her mother must share cramped space with her aunt and cousin. Food, warm clothing, and any kind of personal freedom have all but vanished.

Jewish life becomes more and more confined as the old people, women, and children are forced into the ghetto. From there, the next step is the waiting cattle cars and the concentration camps. But Marta's family is lucky. They are numbered among those who could be saved by the efforts of Raoul Wallenberg.

Among the few points of hope was this extraordinary Swedish diplomat. Raoul Wallenberg issued papers to thousands of Jews, declaring them to be Swedish citizens. Wallenberg was questioned by the Russians after the war and disappeared, possibly to die in Siberia. An international movement has been in place for decades to press Russia for news of his fate. Although details of his death remain a mystery, he has come to represent courage and justice in the face of great evil.

No One Must Know

- by Eva Wiseman

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Chosen for inclusion in the reading list for the 2006 Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award


It is 1957 and Alexandra's immigrant family is living the North American dream. Her father is a respected doctor, and she has a warm circle of good friends from church, from girl guides, and from school. Perhaps her mother is nervous and a bit odd - she seems incapable of leaving the house alone - and there is never any talk of the life they left behind in Hungary, but every family has its quirks.

Alexandra's world is turned upside down when she discovers a secret that her parents have kept. They are not Catholic, as Alexandra believes. They are Jewish. Alexandra's view of her parents, of her friends, and of the society in which she lives is turned upside down by her discovery. Who is she and where does she really belong?