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The Safest Lie
by Angela Cerrito

Trade Binding | 192 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/4 | US$ 16.95
ISBN: 9780823433100 | 07-30-2015

Also available as an ebook.

Grade: FIFTH | Age: 8 to 12

Themes: Holocaust, Judaica, World War II, Survival, Family & Relationships
Recommendations: C, K, SLJ

CCSS Codes:
RL.7.1-4, 6, 9, 10
W.7.4, 6-9, 9a, 10
SL.7.1, 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 3-6
L.7.3, 4, 4a, 4c, 4d, 5, 5a, 5c, 6

About the Book

This powerful historical novel tells the story of a young girl who is smuggled out of the Warsaw ghetto and struggles to both hide and hold on to her Jewish identity.

In 1940, nine-year-old Anna Bauman and her parents are among 300,000 Polish Jews struggling to survive the wretched conditions in the Warsaw ghetto. Anna draws the attention of Jolanta—the code name for the real-life Resistance spy Irena Sendler, who smuggled hundreds of children out of the ghetto. Jolanta wants to help Anna escape. Anna's mother drills her day and night, teaching her a new identity, that of Roman Catholic Anna Karwolska. Soon Anna is whisked out of Warsaw to a Catholic orphanage and then to a foster family.

Anna's story is a suspenseful and deeply moving account of the sacrifices endured, the dangers faced, and the heroism demonstrated by courageous young victims, their parents and their saviors. It sheds light on yet another tragedy of the Holocaust: rescued children who lost not only their loved ones, but their very identities and Jewish heritage.


Read an exclusive Q&A with author, Angela Cerrito!


Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California (ACL) Distinguished Book

Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year


"Full of feeling and insight, as well as fascinating detail, this novel is as much about the loss of identity as the loss of life. Give this to those history buffs ready for a powerful story less commonly told."—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Classroom Discussion Questions with CCSS:

1. How does the point of view contribute to the authenticity of the story? Research author Angela Cerrito and her inspiration, Irena Sendler, to explain. Discuss the impact that firsthand and secondhand accounts have on historical fiction. SL.9-12.1, 2, 4, 5, 6 / W.7-8.7, 8, 9

2. What feelings are evoked by the setting in THE SAFEST LIE? Explain how the author uses language to create atmosphere and how it contributes to the understanding of the story. RL.7-8.3 / L.7-8.3, 4, 5

3. What are the types of conflict? Write about how Anna is forced to deal with each conflict type and how Anna's doing so shapes both the plot and her as a person. RL.7-8.1, 2, 3 / W.7-8.4

4. How does reading about the past teach us about the present and future? Choose two novels that are based on the true events of the Holocaust and compare and contrast their approaches to themes, setting, characters and plot. SL.7-8.1, 4, 6 / W.7-8.7, 8, 9, 10

Educators' Guide
Educator's Guide featuring questions for classroom discussion and suggestions for further exploration. Includes connections to the Common Core State Standards.