Behind the Secret Window

Behind the Secret Window

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by Nelly S. Toll

Illustrated with Nelly's original watercolors, this powerful memoir tells the true story of how a little girl's imagination helped her survive World War II.

The Nazis come to Poland when Nelly is six. By the time she turns eight, the events of World War II have taken almost everyone she loves. Scared, lonely, and running from the Nazis, Nelly hides in the bedroom of a Gentile couple in Lwow, Poland. For over a year, she lives in fear of discovery, writing in her diary and painting pictures of a fantasy world filled with open skies and happy families. 

For 13 months during World War II, the author and her mother were hidden from the Nazis. Like Anne Frank, Nelly kept a diary and through that outlet transformed her grim reality into an enchanting fantasy world.

"Without emphasizing horror and loss, Toll conveys the effects of human evil and human folly, summoning up the forces of tragedy and courage." --Publishers Weekly 

"In Toll's remembrance, art equals hope: her happy family pictures, painted in the secret room where she and her mother hid from the Nazis and the Poles, show extraordinary preteen talent as well as the will to survive." --Kirkus Reviews