The Blackbird Girls By Anne Blankman

On a spring morning in 1986, neighbors Valentina Kaplan and Oksana Savchenko wake up to an angry red sky. A reactor at the nuclear power plant where their fathers work--Chernobyl--has exploded. Before they know it, the two girls, who've always been enemies, find themselves on a train bound for Leningrad to stay with Valentina's estranged grandmother, Rita Grigorievna.

In 1941 Rifka must flee Kiev before the Germans arrive. Her journey is harrowing and fraught with danger because Germans and Russians alike will revile her for her Jewish blood.

In both time periods, the girls must learn who to trust and how to have hope in the midst of horrible events. The Blackbird Girls

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Tři dívky, dvě vypráví svůj příběh po černobylské katastrofě v roce 1986, třetí utíká z Ukrajiny před Němci o 45 let dřív během druhé světové války. Hrůzy komunistické oprese, nenávist k Židům, důsledky výbuchu jaderné elektrárny, život těch nejchudších na okraji Leningradu, domácí násilí na ženách i dětech… jak mrazivě to všechno působí, když to vidíte očima jedenáctiletých holek. Není to tak syrové čtení, jaké by mohlo být, kdyby byly hlavní hrdinky starší, přece jen je ten dětský pohled mnohem naivnější a navíc chráněný před spoustou dalších věcí, které si „vyřeší“ dospělí. Je to kniha o přátelství, které jste si nikdy neuměli představit a nakonec vám zachrání život. Celou dobu mě to drželo a chtěla jsem vědět, jak to dopadne. Konec byl na mě teda už moc rychlý a tak trochu neuspokojivý, ale jinak skvělá záležitost.

Já vím, že to lidi nemají rádi tohleto přirovnávání, ale tohle je middle grade Ruta Sepetys meets Geniální přítelkyně... The Blackbird Girls Great book. Wonderful characters. Lots of history. Compelling. The Blackbird Girls So, so good. This engrossing historical novel brings Soviet Russia to life as it follows two unlikely friends during their evacuation from the Chernobyl disaster and a parallel narrative of a Jewish girl's escape during WWII. I loved the characters, I loved the rich setting. I would hand this to readers of The War That Saved My Life (and I don't say that lightly!) or Refugee. LOVED IT. The Blackbird Girls This is the kind of book I would have loved as a tween. It was so good I had to recommend and give it to someone else to read the day after I finished it. Valentina and Okasana are frenemies whose mothers send them away from their home in Pripyat after the Chernobyl explosion in 1986 in this story about the healing strength and bonds of friendship.
Fans of The War That Saved My Life will love this. Or anyone who likes books about life behind the Iron Curtain like A Night Divided or Cloud and Wallfish. The Blackbird Girls TW: anti-Semitism, emotional and physical child abuse

I legit have a talent for finding middle grade books that make me cry. This is not the easiest read by any means but it's so good. I love the parallels of the stories and how everything goes together. I adore the two girls and I MAY have burst out into tears for the entire last 1/3 (especially when Blackbird Girls was explained).

Rep: Jewish and Muslim The Blackbird Girls

I was super excited when I learned about this book! It only just came out in Canada for some reason, but I loved Prisoner of Night and Fog by this author and was excited to see she had another historical fiction. I have her other book but I haven't gotten to it yet, but something about this one made me more interested in reading it first. I think because I've never read anything about the Chernobyl disaster I was immediately intrigued. I didn't know before starting that this was a middle grade and while that made me apprehensive, it didn't take away from my enjoyment of the story. There's nothing wrong with middle grade at all, I just find that sometimes I'm let down by them. But this story didn't shy away from the terrible things that happened in the Chernobyl disaster even though it was written for a younger audience. Unfortunately that being said, I still didn't fall in love with the story. I enjoyed it, but I wanted more. It starts being very focused on the events of Chernobyl but I was disappointed that as the story went on that kind of faded into the background and was just a setting for other things. I wanted to learn more about the characters in relation to that. This book did deal with a lot of serious subject matter like child abuse, emotional and physical, and anti-semitism heavily, so do be wary of that going in to it. I do think the topics were broached with the care and attention they needed. I liked that it was a story about friendship prevailing through such difficulties and really enjoyed watching the growth of Valentina and Oksana. I felt like I was transported to the time period and setting of the story easily, I just wanted more information about the aftermath of the disaster. I also have kind of mixed feelings on the addition of the WW2 timeline. I understand why it was added and do like what it did, but I also felt like I wanted more from it. Basically, I did enjoy this and think it was a great educational read, it just didn't quite do all I had hoped it would. But it was still a super solid and informative read! The Blackbird Girls 5/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I think it's worth mentioning that I've never been a huge fan of historical fiction, BUT- I requested this one because I've been trying to branch out- and the story of an unlikely friendship that blossoms following the Chernobyl disaster seemed like it'd be as good a place as any to start.

I've always been an emotional being, but it's been a while since I've read something that has been truly touching. Anne Blankman is one talented lady. I have a feeling that this book is going to stick with me for some time- and as this book is targeted at a younger audience I would recommend this to anyone else who is trying to branch out- because it has all of the impact of an adult read without being overly complicated. The Blackbird Girls A powerful portrait of an event in history that many know only by one name -- Cherobyl. Oksana and Valentina both have fathers who were at the plant when the disaster happened. Valentina is Jewish and faces teasing and bullying at school from kids like Oksana. Both girls are evacuated to Kiev once the danger is evident and only one of the mothers is approved to leave with them. From there, the stakes continue to increase. The book honestly depicts the realities of living under communism and the prejudices against Jews. In addition, a parallel narrative from 1941 shows Valentina's grandmother and her perilous journey escaping the Nazis in WW II. A heart-filled tale punctuated with peril and the power of the human spirit. I loved it. Perfect for Ruta Sepetys fans!

Thank you to Viking Books and Edelweiss for a DRC in exchange for an honest review. The Blackbird Girls “Blackbird Girls”, by Anne Blankman is an powerful well written historical fiction book geared toward middle school ages….which was plenty ‘adult’ for me.

It’s a very sad time in history — in the town Pripyat,
Ukraine, relevant today — also a very sad time today [does it even need to be said]…..
The community of Pripyat had always been assured that “an accident at the nuclear power station was a statistical impossibility”.
…..but on the morning of April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl disaster accident ‘did’ occurred. Reactor 4 had exploded.

We follow this story through two fifth grade girls and one grandmother.
Valentina Kaplan was Jewish. Oksana Savchenko was not. She and her family were prejudice against Jews, making the young girls each other‘s nemesis.
But, after both girls lose their fathers— after the explosion—both girls also get separated from their mothers.
They are thrown into a new city and a new school where they only have each other for memories of ‘home’.
The girls board a train together to stay with Valentina‘s estranged grandmother, Rifka Grigorievna.
Rita had her own history— she experienced cruelty from antisemitism growing up—and now she would be helping Oksan.
They slowly begin to overcome their hatred because of their religions.

The blackbirds mentioned in the title are resilient creatures according to the folklore which Rifka learned “a link between heaven and earth… a symbol for eternity”.

This story is well researched, and engaging….a little predictable—but I didn’t mind. It was intimate and I admire work from the author.: Anne Blankman.
In this female centered story, the girls and grandmother each struggle to find their support among one another, and slowly build inner strength which helps them survive antisemitism—-all during a time when the Chernobyl’s devastation wasn’t bad enough -for ‘all’ people — and the land they lived.

Thank you to my friend Mary, for telling me about this young person’s powerful book — I know just the young girl (my friends granddaughter), whom to pass this along to . The Blackbird Girls I remember reading this when I was a lot younger and absolutely DEVOURING IT. It is definitely not an easy book to read, touching on pressing issues such as the horrific disaster at Chernobyl and child abuse, but one that is still very enjoyable. The writing, characters and plot were all really great and middle-grade-me really loved it.

Overall, a sad but heartwarming story about one of the worst nuclear disasters in history. If you're a middle grade reader looking for a great historical fiction, I would definitely recommend this! The Blackbird Girls