Somewhere There is Still a Sun
Michael “Misha” Gruenbaum enjoyed a carefree childhood playing games and taking walks through Prague with his beloved father. All of that changed forever when the Nazis invaded Prague. The Gruenbaum family was forced to move into the Jewish Ghetto in Prague. Then, after a devastating loss, Michael, his mother and sister were deported to the Terezin concentration camp.
At Terezin, Misha roomed with forty other boys who became like brothers to him. Life in Terezin was a bizarre, surreal balance—some days were filled with friendship and soccer matches, while others brought mortal terror as the boys waited to hear the names on each new list of who was being sent “to the East.”
Those trains were going to Auschwitz. When the day came that his family’s name appeared on a transport list, their survival called for a miracle—one that tied Michael’s fate to a carefully sewn teddy bear, and to his mother’s unshakeable determination to keep her children safe.
Collaborating with acclaimed author Todd Hasak-Lowy, Michael Gruenbaum shares his inspiring story of hope in an unforgettable memoir that recreates his experiences with stunning immediacy. Michael’s story, and the many original documents and photos included alongside it, offer an essential contribution to Holocaust literature.
“Written in first-person present-tense narration, this riveting memoir traces the increasingly appalling events that took place from 1939–1945 in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, as seen through the eyes of Gruenbaum . . . The ingenuity, love, and defiant courage displayed by Misha, his parents, Franta, and others counteract incessant degradation and terror, creating an inspiring testament to human resilience.” — Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)
“This superbly written story of a young Holocaust survivor and his family manages to be hopeful and poignant, without shying away from dark truths . . . Kudos to Gruenbaum's collaborator Todd Hasak-Lowy, who obviously did meticulous research to capture time and place so authentically. His Afterword, describing this process, is well worth reading.” — Parents’ Choice, Gold Medal Award Winner
“This account will help young readers imagine themselves in the midst of the unimaginable—and will show them how kids very much like them managed to survive.” — M.T. Anderson, New York Times Book Review
“Young Misha’s narration sets this Holocaust memoir apart from others. Initially unaware of the dark implications of the events, Misha adapted to camp life, playing soccer and making new friends, until he could no longer ignore the truth. His innocence contrasts with what readers (and the adults around Misha) know is going on, which creates a foreboding tone. The use of present-tense narration contributes to the urgency of the narration, and Misha’s sense of fairness and his unfailing faith that things will improve will resonate with students.” — School Library Journal
“The Holocaust’s horrors are handled delicately for middlegrade readers but never detract from the truth. Photographs and letters add to the memoir’s efficacy and poignancy.” — Booklist
“Somewhere There is a Sun reads like the private journal of a Czech boy and later teenager, candidly recording his innermost thoughts and feelings on the daily routines of his life from 1939 to 1945. With this book, Michael Gruenbaum has offered the current generation of young readers a very special book that will trigger both emotion and reflection; it is an extremely valuable tool for all of us who are trying to teach teenagers about the Holocaust .” — Margot Stern Strom, Facing History and Ourselves
“Seeing the events unfold through a young boy’s eyes without the mediation of the adult perspective presents a fresh take on the Holocaust narrative and should be added to the juvenile Holocaust literature bookshelf.” — Jewish Book Council
National Jewish Book Award Finalist
Eureka! Nonfiction Children’s Book Silver Award
Vermont’s Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award list, 2016
Five-year license with Scholastic (through 2022)