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The Lily Pond

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The Lily Pond

A Faraway Island Series, Book 2
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A Mildred L. Batchelder Honor Book and an ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Book, The Lily Pond continues the story of two Jewish sisters who left Austria during WWII/Holocaust and found refuge in Sweden.A...
A Mildred L. Batchelder Honor Book and an ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Book, The Lily Pond continues the story of two Jewish sisters who left Austria during WWII/Holocaust and found refuge in Sweden.A...
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  • A Mildred L. Batchelder Honor Book and an ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Book, The Lily Pond continues the story of two Jewish sisters who left Austria during WWII/Holocaust and found refuge in Sweden.

    A year after Stephie Steiner and her younger sister, Nellie, left Nazi-occupied Vienna, Stephie has finally adapted to life on the rugged Swedish island where she now lives. But more change awaits Stephie: her foster parents have allowed her to enroll in school on the mainland, in Goteberg. Stephie is eager to go. Not only will she be pursuing her studies, she'll be living in a cultured city again--under the same roof as Sven, the son of the lodgers who rented her foster parents' cottage for the summer.
    Five years her senior, Sven dazzles Stephie with his charm, his talk of equality, and his anti-Hitler sentiments. Stephie can't help herself--she's falling in love. As she navigates a sea of new emotions, she also grapples with what it means to be beholden to others, with her constant worry about what her parents are enduring back in Vienna, and with the menacing spread of Nazi ideology, even in Sweden. In these troubled times, her true friends, Stephie discovers, are the ones she least expected.

    From the Hardcover edition.

  • Chapter One

    The funnel of the steamboat opens wide, releasing a mournful howl and a cloud of black smoke. The moorings have been dropped, and the gangway has been drawn up. In a wide arc the boat pulls away from the pier and steers out to sea.

    Stephie stands in the stern, waving. All the people on the pier wave back: Nellie, Auntie Alma, the little ones, and Vera. Stephie said goodbye to Uncle Evert last night, before he headed off with the fishing boat he works on, the Diana. When he and the rest of the crew return with their catch in a few days, Stephie won't be there.

    The people on the pier are shrinking; soon Stephie can't see them. The last thing she loses sight of is Vera's copper-red hair, glistening in the sun.

    "Let's go inside and sit down," Aunt Marta says. "Our clothes are getting dirty from the coal smoke."

    Brushing a few particles of dirt only she can see off the sleeve of her light summer coat, Aunt Marta precedes Stephie to the passenger area, her little straw hat pressed firmly down over the gray bun at her neck.

    Aunt Marta's wearing her very best clothes to take Stephie to Goteborg, where Stephie is going to board with Dr. Soderberg and his wife, so she can continue her schooling. The school on the island is only for the first six years. One weekend a month, and on vacations, she'll stay with Aunt Marta and Uncle Evert. It's all planned.

    The air in the passenger area is muggy; Stephie fans herself with a newspaper someone left on the bench where they're sitting. Aunt Marta, though, sits straight as a ramrod, with her buttons done up to the neck and the corners of her head scarf crossed neatly over her chest. She doesn't seem to notice the heat.

    The suitcase at Stephie's side contains nearly all her earthly possessions: her clothes, her books, her diary, and her photographs of Mamma and Papa. The only thing she left in the room under the eaves at Aunt Marta and Uncle Evert's is her old teddy bear. She's a big girl now, thirteen.

    She intends to go by the name of Stephanie at her new school. It sounds romantic and grown up, not childish like her nickname. Sven, the Soderbergs' son, calls her Stephanie. She's looking forward to seeing him again soon.

    "My name is Stephanie," she mutters softly to herself.

    "What was that?" asks Aunt Marta.


    "There's no need to be nervous," Aunt Marta tells her. "You're just as good as everyone else, remember that. Better, even."

    Aunt Marta doesn't easily dish out praise, or flattery, as she calls it. Coming from her, this is an enormous compliment.

    "Aunt Marta," Stephie begins.


    "Have you ever regretted taking me in?"

    Aunt Marta looks bewildered. "Regretted? Of course not," she says. "We did the right thing. There's no regretting that."

    "But I mean have you never wished they had sent you a different child? A nicer one?"

    At that, something even more unusual happens. Aunt Marta laughs.

    "Oh, my dear girl, you have the strangest ideas! The thought has never so much as entered my mind. I admit that you do foolish things at times, but you've never done anything so bad that both God and I were not prepared to forgive you."

    Stephie can't help wondering who is stricter, Aunt Marta or her God. Or do God and Aunt Marta always agree about everything?

    The steamboat barrels along between the little islands and skerries. Off in the distance behind them is the horizon.

    A year ago Stephie and her younger sister, Nellie, made this trip in the opposite direction, from Goteborg out to the faraway island; it was the last leg of their long journey from home. Their...

About the Author-
  • ANNIKA THOR's bestselling quartet featuring the Steiner sisters has been translated into numerous languages and was adapted into a hugely popular television series in Sweden.

  • Horn Book, January/February 2012: "A compelling look at World War II--era Sweden, this distinguished Holocaust story will resonate."
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    Random House Children's Books
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The Lily Pond
The Lily Pond
A Faraway Island Series, Book 2
Annika Thor
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The Lily Pond
The Lily Pond
A Faraway Island Series, Book 2
Annika Thor
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