The Extra

By: Kathryn Lasky

Filmmaker and Reich ally Leni Riefenstahl picks Lilo, a Gypsy girl arrested by Nazis, to be an extra. The sets are glamorous, but conditions offscreen are vile. Author’s note.

ISBN: 9780763639723

JLG Release: Dec 2013


Sensitive Areas: Strong language, Discrimination, Strong sexual themes, Graphic descriptions of war atrocities and survival techniques, Genocide, Death of a baby, Sexual assault
Topics: World War II (1939-1945) , Gypsies , Twentieth-century Austrian history , Helene Bertha Amalie "Leni" Riefenstahl (1902-2003) , Filmmakers and filmmaking , Twentieth-century German history , Puppetry , Concentration camps

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History High

Grades 10 & Up

12 titles/year

$214.20/year

Awards & Honors

2013 National Jewish Book Award Winner, Children’s and Young Adults; Winner, IRA Notable Books for a Global Society, 2014

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)

Junior Library Guild

  • A fascinating fictionalized account of Sinti and Roma gypsies imprisoned by Nazis and forced to work for filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl. The focus on the gypsies, whose persecution by the Nazis is often overlooked, makes this a particularly compelling Holocaust novel.
  • Lilo, the story’s Sinti protagonist, is eminently sympatheti
    • A fascinating fictionalized account of Sinti and Roma gypsies imprisoned by Nazis and forced to work for filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl. The focus on the gypsies, whose persecution by the Nazis is often overlooked, makes this a particularly compelling Holocaust novel.
    • Lilo, the story’s Sinti protagonist, is eminently sympathetic. She is brave and bold, suffering harrowing ordeals that include being separated from (and eventually losing) her father, and then her mother. More than once, she defies her oppressors to save her own life.
    • The book has an inherent tension that makes for a quick, absorbing read: Lilo’s life—like the rest of the gypsies’—is deemed cheap, and Riefenstahl is an unpredictable tyrant who can, and does, condemn people to death.
    • Provides insight and commentary on filmmaking’s pretenses, and how what is not shown can be as important as what is onscreen. As Lilo’s mother puts it: “‘This isn’t Hollywood, and we’re not extras. They lock the barn, remember? We bathe in the cow barn and go to latrines. We sit on rough boards to do our business. You think Gary Cooper did this or Marlene Dietrich . . . ? We’re film slaves.’”
    • Readers may be inspired to learn more about Riefenstahl, a very controversial artist and historical figure.

Book Details

ISBN

9780763639723

First Release

December 2013

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

F

Trim Size

5 1/2" x 8 1/4"

Page Count

320

Accelerated Reader

Level 4.6; Points: 9;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 3.8; Points: 15;

Lexile

Level 660L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Candlewick

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Strong language, Discrimination, Strong sexual themes, Graphic descriptions of war atrocities and survival techniques, Genocide, Death of a baby, Sexual assault

Topics

World War II (1939-1945), Gypsies, Twentieth-century Austrian history, Helene Bertha Amalie "Leni" Riefenstahl (1902-2003), Filmmakers and filmmaking, Twentieth-century German history, Puppetry, Concentration camps,

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