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The Story That Cannot Be Told



by
J. Kasper Kramer

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Simon & Schuster
Imprint
Atheneum
ISBN
9781534430686
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Violence: War/Harsh Realities of War, Language: Infrequent Use
$10.80   $9.00
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Ileana has always collected stories. Some are about the past, before the leader of her country tore down her home to make room for his golden palace; back when families had enough food, and the hot water worked on more than just Saturday nights. Others are folktales, like the one she was named for, which her father used to tell her at bedtime. But some stories can get you in trouble, like the dangerous one criticizing Romania’s Communist government that Uncle Andrei published—right before he went missing.

Fearing for her safety, Ileana’s parents send her to live with the grandparents she’s never met, far from the prying eyes and ears of the secret police and their spies, who could be any of the neighbors. But danger is never far away. Now, to save her family and the village she’s come to love, Ileana will have to tell the most important story of her life.

Author’s note.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Violence: War/Harsh Realities of War, Language: Infrequent Use

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

384

Trim Size

8 1/4"x 5 1/2"

Dewey

F

AR

5.3: points 12

Lexile

800L

Genre

Fiction

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Jan 2020

Book Genres

Historical Fiction

Topics

Family life. Romania. Authorship. Dictatorship. Communism. Revolutions. Romanian history. Romanian Revolution (1989). Folktales. Storytelling. Grandparents. Friendship.

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Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly*, Kirkus Reviews*, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books*

School Library Journal

This gripping story describes the impact of the Communist regime of Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania on the lives of one family and draws on multiple sources of information—folklore and fairy tales, stories told to the author by Romanian friends, and the author’s research into history and literature—to yield a powerful mix of fact and fiction. The writing draws heavily from the language of storytelling: “Once upon a time, something happened. If it had not happened, it would not be told.” The book centers on Ileana, a young girl whose world is shaken as the Ceausescu regime erodes individual freedoms and sows fear and resentment. Secret police intrude into people’s lives. One day, despite her parents’ warnings, Ileana lets in an “electrician,” who proceeds to install bugs throughout the family’s apartment. Ileana, a talented storyteller and writer, is a threat to everyone’s safety, especially her own, so her parents send her to the countryside to stay with her grandparents. Life gets more and more constrained, and the secret police eventually endeavor to destroy the village where Ileana is staying, find her uncle, and punish him for writing a political manifesto. The novel’s structure draws readers in. Threaded throughout are retellings of Romanian fairy tales about “Cunning Ileana,” a smart princess who outsmarts her enemies. These tales encircle the main narrative in fascinating ways that invite speculation and interpretation. It would be hard to end this story and not feel connected to it and curious to know more about what happened in Romania in the 1980s. An engrossing read that will raise questions about how to determine the truth of past events.

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

This gripping story describes the impact of the Communist regime of Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania on the lives of one family and draws on multiple sources of information—folklore and fairy tales, stories told to the author by Romanian friends, and the author’s research into history and literature—to yield a powerful mix of fact and fiction. The writing draws heavily from the language of storytelling: “Once upon a time, something happened. If it had not happened, it would not be told.” The book centers on Ileana, a young girl whose world is shaken as the Ceausescu regime erodes individual freedoms and sows fear and resentment. Secret police intrude into people’s lives. One day, despite her parents’ warnings, Ileana lets in an “electrician,” who proceeds to install bugs throughout the family’s apartment. Ileana, a talented storyteller and writer, is a threat to everyone’s safety, especially her own, so her parents send her to the countryside to stay with her grandparents. Life gets more and more constrained, and the secret police eventually endeavor to destroy the village where Ileana is staying, find her uncle, and punish him for writing a political manifesto. The novel’s structure draws readers in. Threaded throughout are retellings of Romanian fairy tales about “Cunning Ileana,” a smart princess who outsmarts her enemies. These tales encircle the main narrative in fascinating ways that invite speculation and interpretation. It would be hard to end this story and not feel connected to it and curious to know more about what happened in Romania in the 1980s. An engrossing read that will raise questions about how to determine the truth of past events.

Grades 5-7
Upper Elementary & Junior High Plus
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14 books per Year
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Interests
Clean Books,Chapter Books/Novels,Fiction,Reluctant Readers,Transitional Readers,Realistic Fiction
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Grades 5-7
Upper Elementary & Junior High Plus
14 books per Year
$228.20 per Year

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