Yellow Star Review

May 24, 2014

Yellow Star is a 2006 biographical children’s novel by Jennifer Roy. This novel is written in free verse. It’s narrates life through the eyes of a young Jewish girl whose family went through many challenges during the Second World War. Roy, the niece of Sylvia Perlmutter, one the only 12 child survivors of the Lodz ghetto in Poland, shares her aunt’s experience during the Holocaust. The novel relates the courage and heartbreak Sylvia went through during those difficult times.


This is basically Sylvia Permulmutter’s recollection of life in Lodz ghetto. Sylvia was a 4 and half year old girl when she, her family and more than 270, 000 other Jews were confined to this ghetto in the year 1939. This ghetto was liberated a day before she her 10th birthday. This novel relates all the important events of those 5 and a half years as she recalled them later in life as an adult. Want to read this audiobook? Download it for free with a coupon from

The title of this novel is derived from the yellow badge that she was forced to wear. 50 years later after the events described in the novel, Sylvia started telling her story to her son and other family members. Roy recorded the conversations between herself and Sylvia and later used them as the basis of her novel.


In the year 1939, Poland was invaded by the Nazis. The Nazis forced more than 270,000 Jews into a small, fenced-off ghetto of Lodz. Sylvia experiences and child-like views of Holocaust, tell a moving story of courage, love and survival of her family. They just like other Jews are forced to live in terrible conditions of cold, hunger, fear, forced labor and harassment by the Germans. Basically, Sylvia narrates about her friends, people in the ghetto, the jobs and her schedule. It also relates how her family is forced to sell her doll, leaving her sad with rags and buttons to play with. Some tragic events are also related in Yellow Star; Sylvia’s friends disappear and another is brutally killed in an extermination camp.

In the year 1945, the ghetto is liberated; only 800 Jews walked out. Out of the 800, only 12 were children and Sylvia was one of them. Most Jews are then sent to concentration camps but Sylvia’s father manages to protect his family and others around him.


This novel received mixed reviews from Booklist and Publishers weekly. Publishers commended the novel and Sylvia’s credible childlike voice that matures with each chapter of the novel as she gains more understanding of the things around her. The book has received numerous awards and has been rated as one of the most readable young adult holocaust books. For history lovers and especially those looking for an accessible Holocaust novel, then this is the book for them.