Eleanor’s Story is the dramatic autobiography of Eleanor Ramrath Garner’s youth, growing up as an American caught in World War II Berlin. It’s a story of trying to maintain stability, hope, and identity in a world of terror and contrasts.
During the Great Depression, when she is nine, Eleanor’s family moves from her beloved America to Germany, where her father has been offered a good job. But war breaks out as her family is crossing the Atlantic, and they cannot return to the United States.
Eleanor tries to maintain her American identity as she feels herself pulled into the turbulent life roiling around her. She fervently hopes for an Allied victory, yet for years she must try to survive the Allied bombs shattering her neighborhood. Her family faces separations, bombings, hunger, the final fierce battle for Berlin, the Russian invasion, and the terrors of Soviet occupancy.
This compelling story immerses us in the daily struggles of surviving World War II as a civilian. It puts a very human face on the horrors of war and helps us understand that each casualty of war is a person, not a number.
Total Pages: 224
Size: 6 x 8 1/2
Age Range: 12 – 16
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AR Quiz#: 32276
AR Reading Level: 6.4
AR Points: 15
F&P (Fountas & Pinnell)
F&P Level: Y
F&P Grade: 6
Reading Counts Level: 6.4
Reading Counts Points: 21
“This powerful coming-of-age tale is told with intensity and also with the freshness of teenage years remembered: there are repeated brutal bombings and countless brushes with death; there are also friends, holiday celebrations, and two babies born to the family during the war, who engage Eleanor’s love and protection. There’s also a much anticipated return to the U. S. It all coalesces into a must-have memoir about an aspect of wartime survival not often written about in children’s literature.” ―Booklist
“This memoir is outstanding. More than just a chronicle of dates and places, it shows the author to be a sensitive and intelligent woman with a gift for recalling her fears, childhood conflicts, triumphs, and losses. There is an immediacy and power in her recollections. Her exchanges with a harsh, sometimes cruel father are of particular interest. We can be thankful that she chose to relive painful memories and share this story.” ―VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)
“This is a striking, intriguing, and moving read…All in all, it’s an eye-opening read that offers a different look at things for someone who has some background knowledge/experience of WWII, but also is a really neat introduction for students.” ―A Word’s Worth blog
Best Books for Young Adults ―YALSA 2000
Children’s Book Award (older reader category) ―IRA/CBC 2000
Teachers’ Choices (advanced) ―IRA 2000
Young Adults’ Choices ―IRA 2001
Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People ―NCSS/CBC 2000
VOYA Nonfiction Honor List ―Voice of Youth Advocates 1999
Books for the Teen Age ―New York Public Library 2000-2001
Children’s Books Mean Business ―American Booksellers Association and Children’s Book Council 2001
Not Just for Children Anymore! ―Children’s Book Council 2001
California Collections (high school) ―California Readers 2001-2007
Garden State Teen Book Awards (nominee, Nonfiction for Grades 6-12) ―New Jersey Library Association 2001
Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Awards (nominee, grades 6-8) ―Pennsylvania School Librarians Association 2003-2004
San Diego Book Awards (Children’s Nonfiction) ―San Diego Book Awards Association 1999
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Meet the Author
Eleanor Ramrath Garner attended Boston University, and pursued a career as a permissions editor for textbook publishers for many years. In addition to being a published non-fiction writer, Garner is an exhibited artist. She lives in California.