Author(s): Melinda Szymanik
Adam is 13 years old and lives with his family on a small farm in rural Poland. It is 1939 and the war has just broken out. Russians invade Poland and confiscate Adam’s family’s house and farm. They are sent to live with another family nearby, but are then moved on and put on a train for a Russian labour camp as refugees, prisoners of Russia.
In 1939, Adam and his family are ordered to give their farm in Poland to ‘a true Russian’, and are deported to labour camps, where they stay for years, working hard. People die of cold in winter and the diseases in spring kill Adam’s little sister. In June 1941, the truce between Germany and the Soviet Union is broken. Adam and his family are set free. But what is freedom when you cannot go back home, and are separated from your family? This story is about World War 2 from a perspective other than Jewish, which is the most popular way of talking about it. Some of the people are quite cruel, so it is not for younger children. - Zoe (12)
Finalist New Zealand Post Book Awards 2014
Storylines 2014 Notable Junior Fiction.
Melinda Szymanik is the author of the picture books Clever Moo and The Were-Nana, which won the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards Children's Choice Award in 2009. A Winter's Day in 1939 is a novel close to Melinda's heart as it is based on her own father's journey across Europe during World War Two. Melinda has written two other novels, Jack the Viking (Scholastic, 2008) and The Half Life of Ryan Davis (Pear Jam, 2011).