Tuesday, March 21, 2017

SOLSC 21/31: Making a Stand for A Night Divided!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Lisa, Melanie, and Lanny
for hosting this meeting place each day in March
and for nurturing our writing lives.

Our after school book club, Books, Brownies, and Beyond is participating in the middle grade novel bracket of March Book Madness.  Voting for the Final Four closes at 7 pm EDT today.  So on this 21st day of our March Slice of Life Challenge, I'm sharing 21 things about Jennifer Nielsen's book, A Night Divided (which, as you may have guessed, is the book that I want to advance in the brackets tonight).   I just finished this book last night!  It's one of four titles that I hadn't read in this year's Sweet Sixteen.  I still need to read Sisters and Booked.  I finished El Deafo earlier this month.  

 A tragic beginning:
1.  "There was no warning the night the wall went up."

A heartbreaking result:
2.  Gerta's Papa and brother, Dominic, are in West Berlin the night the wall goes up.  Gerta, Mama, and oldest brother Fritz are on the other sound of the wall in East Berlin. 

Three viewpoints: 
3.  "'We will never be able to leave,' Mama said.  'The sooner you both accept that, the happier you will be.'"
4.  "I nodded back at her.  But I knew I could never again be happy here.  And I refused to accept my life inside a prison." - Gerta
5.  "Courage isn't knowing you can do something.  It's only being willing to try."  - Fritz

An unfamiliar setting:
6.  Post WWII
7.  Cold War
8.  Communist East Berlin

An important bedtime song:
 9.  "The Farmer in March" 
10.  Gerta's Papa sings it to her on their last night together before she is separated from him on the night the wall goes up.  It makes an appearance two other times in the book.  

Friends or enemies?
11.  Anna, Gerta's best friend
12.  Frau Eberhart, the neighborhood busybody
13.  Officer Muller, the border guard

Meaningful quotes found at the beginning of each chapter (sharing just a few) :
14.  "Everything that is done in the world is done by hope."  
- Martin Luther
15.  "He only earns his freedom and his life who takes them everyday by storm." - Goethe 
16.  "In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity."  - Albert Einstein
17.  "Who shows courage, encourages others." - Adolph Kolping
18.  "Freedom lies in being bold." - Robert Frost
19.   "I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it." - Nelson Mandela

Greta's surprising realization:
20.  "Even at those times when you want to say good-bye, it's still sad when the moment comes...And no matter where I went in the future, a part of me would always belong to the east."

A personal connection paired with another beginning of chapter quote:
21.  Several years ago I visited the Newseum in Washington DC.  They have a portion of the Berlin Wall as part of the Berlin Wall Gallery, a permanent exhibit.  I remember lingering in this gallery as I tried to imagine what life was like for people at that time.  Jennifer Nielsen's historical fiction novel, A Night Divided, puts us smack in the middle of a family divided by the wall and the difficult decisions they make.  Students who read this book will gain important insight into this tragic time in history and its impact on individual lives.   
"Forget not the tyranny of this wall, horrid place, nor the love of freedom that made it fall."  - Written on the Berlin Wall after it came down.  


  1. Thanks for the review. I will put this book to my to-read list.

  2. I loved this book and it is a favorite book club pick for students. My students just met Officer Muller and I said oh just wait! Out of the four you mentioned, I would vote for this one hands down!

  3. Now I need to find this book at the library. Thanks for the glimpse inside.

  4. I'l add it to my TBR list. Thanks for the recommendation

  5. We can always get good book recommendations here. The quotes are great.

  6. I'll have to search for this book, Ramona - sounds wonderful.

  7. This sounds like a winner. THANKS for the book information.

  8. I love this author and have this book on my TBR list - I also bookmarked your blog so I can come back to this post once I have my hands on this book - it sounds fantastic! We had German exchange students a few years back, one from the East and one from the West. We loved hearing the stories of their parents and grandparents and how their beloved country changed over the past several decades, so I know I'll enjoy this book!

  9. This review makes me want to read this book NOW. I especially like your use of quotes from the pages. How can it not win?

  10. Spring Break will be here soon and I think I just found the book I want to read with my time off. Thanks for the great book review!

  11. Thank you for such a thorough review! Sounds a book I need to get for summer reading for my grandkids.

  12. Beautiful review, Ramona. I loved reading this book, and visited the Newseum that last yearI went to DC with my class. I was touched by their display too, was glad I got to touch that wall. Hoping for you! Wish they could listen to you!

  13. Thanks for the recommendation, Ramona. Your post made me want to read this book!