The Book

The Year of Goodbyes:  A True Story of Friendship, Family, and Farewells (Disney-Hyperion Books for Children 2010) is the true story of my mother's last year living in Germany, 1938, a time when the tide of anti-Semitism in that country had risen to perilous levels--but before anyone could have even imagined the Holocaust. It’s a tale of a girl and her friends trying to lead normal pre-teen lives in the midst of rising alarm. It’s about saying goodbye without knowing what lies ahead.

Throughout 1938, my mother--Jutta (pronounced YU-tah)--had friends and relatives fill her poesiealbum (pronounced po-eh-ZEE album)--a type of autograph album) with verses, inscriptions, and drawings. These handwritten entries, which are reproduced as chapter headings in the book, serve as the springboards for the true story in The Year of Goodbyes.

Praise for the book:

"Artfully weaving together her mother's poesiealbum (autograph/poetry album), diary, and her own verse, Levy crafts a poignant portrait of her Jewish mother's life in 1938 Nazi Germany that crackles with adolescent vitality." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"An outstanding and emotionally taut read." --School Library Journal (starred review)

"An immensely powerful experience." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"A fiercely beautiful and necessary book."  --Washington Parent

"Once you start reading, you will not be able to put down Debbie Levy’s book."  --Shelf Elf


Interviewed by Marc Bernier at the 2011 Miami Book Fair (video)

Movie Mom blog on BeliefNet (with Nell Minow)

Jewish Books for Children blog (with Barbara Bietz)

Mother Daughter Book Club blog (with Cindy Hudson)

The Washington Post Magazine

The Book of Life podcast (with Heidi Estrin)

Selected for Booktalking Around the World: Great Global Reads for Ages 9-14 (Libraries Unlimited 2010)


Parents' Choice Award 2010

Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Books of 2010

2011 Sydney Taylor Notable Book

CCBC Choices 2011, the annual best-of-the-year list of the Cooperative Children's Book Center

VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) Nonfiction Honor List 2010

California Reading Association Eureka! Honor Book Award 2013

National Endowment for the Humanities Nonfiction Booklist (“Nonfiction Favorites”)

2013 Selection for the city-wide All Spencer (Iowa) Reads Program, an intergenerational reading initiative

Master List for Vermont's Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award 2011-2012

2012 Nominee for New York State's Charlotte Award

2012-2013 Nominee for the Beehive Book Awards, sponsored by the Children's Literature Association of Utah (CLAU). 

Texas Lone Star Reading List Nominee 2012

American Library Association Notable Children's Books Nominee 2011

IndieBound "Next List," Spring 2010

Purchase the book:

From an independent bookstore
From Amazon
From Barnes & Noble

Discussion Guide from Disney-Hyperion Books

1 comment:

  1. I really did like this book, it is one true story about Nazi Germany that had a (somewhat) happy ending! Thank you Debbie Levy for putting together such an amazing book of memories!! Brilliant work of art. :)