Cover image for One more border : the true story of one family's escape from war-torn Europe
One more border : the true story of one family's escape from war-torn Europe
Kaplan, William, 1957-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Toronto : Douglas & McIntyre, [1998]

Physical Description:
61 pages : illustrations (chiefly color), maps ; 26 x 27 cm
General Note:
"A Groundwood book".
Reading Level:
760 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.4 1.0 42272.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 3.5 4 Quiz: 20052 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Concord Library DS135.L53 K37 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Seven-year-old Kai-ming Wong is wide-eyed over the big North American city where he and his parents have gone to live. It is a far cry from the hills and countryside of South China, the only home Kai-ming has ever known. The glass towers and shiny cars are as foreign to the boy as the English spoken by the children playing in the streets. So Kai-ming stays inside his house while his parents search for work.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 3^-5. Ninety per cent of Lithuania's Jews were killed in the Holocaust. This stirring picture book is the true story of one family that escaped, told from the point of view of Kaplan's father, Otto, who was a boy in 1939 when the family had to leave everything behind and flee for their lives, A clear map on the endpapers shows the route the Kaplans took, nearly three-quarters of the way around the world, across Russia on the Trans-Siberian Express to Japan, then by steamship to Vancouver and across the Canadian prairie to join Otto's grandparents in Ontario. Always, their struggle was not only to get out but also to gain entry as "the rest of the world shut down its borders." A key figure in their rescue was Sugihara, the Japanese consul in Lithuania, who defied his own government and personally issued transit visas for hundreds of Jews. One of the last families he saved was the Kaplans, and facsimiles of their visas are a stirring part of the narrative. Sidebars provide useful historical background to the personal story. The illustrations include original color pictures and also archival photos and family snapshots, but, unfortunately, the photos are crowded together, sometimes with no borders or space between them. Connect this with Ken Mochizuki's powerful picture book Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story (1997). --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Working with Tanaka (On Board the Titanic), Kaplan delves into his father's childhood experiences for this combination family drama and history lesson. In 1939, Igor Kaplan and his younger sister, Nomi, leave their home in Memel, Lithuania, as their prescient parents keep one step ahead of the Nazis. In the Lithuanian capital, the now-legendary Japanese consul Chiune Sugihara gives Mr. Kaplan a visa for himself and the children. Mrs. Kaplan, who is Russian, needs separate exit and entrance visas; she somehow obtains the former just in time to join the family, already aboard the Trans-Siberian Express. After more dangerous journeys and 11th-hour deliverances, they finally reach Ontario, where the children's grandparents live. The Kaplans' saga, illustrated with attractive watercolors, is paralleled with archival photos and explanatory sidebars. For example, as the Kaplans flee Memel, photos on the facing page show Nazis goose-stepping and German soldiers marching through a burning Polish village; a three-paragraph caption defines WWII. While the explanatory apparatus will answer many of the general questions readers are likely to raise, some areas remain confusing (e.g., the contest between Nazis and Russians for control of Lithuania). The two-tier narrative can be distracting and deflects from the momentum of the Kaplans' narrow escapes; readers will have to know the background already before they can fully appreciate the desperate nature of the family's plight. Ages 9-12. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-5-Feeling they are no longer safe in their town of Memel, a Lithuanian Jewish family undertakes a long and dangerous journey. Mr. Kaplan and his two children are issued visas by Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese consul whose story was told in Ken Mochizuki's Passage to Freedom (Lee & Low, 1997). Russian born Mrs. Kaplan needed to acquire a separate visa in Moscow. Most of the narrative centers around the experiences of Igor, the oldest child, as the family travels by the Trans-Siberian Express and by ship. They eventually make their way to eastern Canada where they are met by the children's grandparents, and they begin their lives over. The story is written somewhat melodramatically, but is not without merit. Information about World War II and the fate of the Jews who remained in Europe is provided in sidebars and news photos that interrupt the narrative flow. It is hard to determine which pictures are family snapshots and which ones are general news photos. The soft-pencil or pastel illustrations neither add nor detract from the presentation. Most of the words in the glossary can be understood in context.-Cheri Estes, Detroit Country Day School Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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