Salt to the Sea


index.aspxWhile many are familiar with the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, an British ocean liner torpedoed by the Germans during WWI, Rita Sepetys has based her latest teen historical novel on the little known MV Wilhelm Gustloff. Sunk by the Russians during WWII, this German transport ship was hit by three Soviet torpedoes on January 30, 1945, while carrying over 10,000 passengers. Most were “approved” refugees (almost 9,000, half of which were children), the rest were German soldiers, wounded, officers and crew. The novel is told from the alternating perspectives of the four main characters: Alfred, a German sailor; Florian,a German soldier who has deserted; Joana, a Lithuanian nurse and Emilia, a young Polish girl. Sepetys gives an insightful and sobering glimpse into the plight of refugees in Eastern Europe while the Russians were on the march during WWII. Recommended for grades 8 and up, and has crossover appeal for adults as well.

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