Rosen begins with some informative history about his family. His mother's family had lived in London, and as a young boy, Michael loved visiting them and going out for bagels with his Zeyde (grandad in Yiddish) or shopping with his Bubbe (granny in Yiddish). His great grandparents on this side came from Poland and his grandmother Rose had been born in England. When she married, she and her husband Morris moved to the United States, which is why Michael's dad is American. But when the marriage ended, she returned to London. During the war, his dad was an American soldier, and growing up, Michael loved to hear his stories about his time as a soldier.
Grandad Morris had one brother Max who also emigrated to the United States, and six other siblings, four of whom remained in Poland and two who emigrated to France. Whenever young Michael would ask what happened to the six siblings, his dad would answer "I don't know...They were there at the beginning of the war, but they had gone by the end. I suppose they died in the camps."
|Michael Rosen's Family Tree. Click to enlarge|
|Click to enlarge|
Interspersed in this family history are poems that Michael Rosen has written over the years about his relatives while he was searching for the missing members and which are strategically placed throughout. There is a humorous poem called "Bagel" is about going out for bagels with his Zeyde, while a poem called "Dear Oscar" affectively imagines what his ride in a cattle car to Auschwitz might have been like.
The book ends on a hopeful note that today's children will develop empathy and understanding towards other people, especially those who are different from themselves, and not fall for the racist, xenophobic rhetoric that is once again on the rise throughout the world.
There is really extensive back matter that includes a Bibliography of first hand accounts and other nonfiction books about WWII and the Holocaust, recommended fiction for young readers, fiction and nonfiction recommendations about today's refugees.
The Missing: The True Story of My Family in World War II is the perfect accompaniment for anyone interested in the war, the Holocaust, and it is especially recommended for anyone studying these units in the classroom or being home schooled. I can't recommend it highly enough.
This book is recommended for readers age 10+
This book was purchased for my personal library from Book Depository, however, I understand Candlewick Press will be publishing it in the United States on September 8, 2020.