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The Cats in Krasinski Square by Karen Hesse

The Cats in Krasinski Square (edition 2004)

by Karen Hesse, Wendy Watson (Illustrator)

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4123025,790 (4.28)16
Title:The Cats in Krasinski Square
Authors:Karen Hesse
Other authors:Wendy Watson (Illustrator)
Info:Scholastic Press (2004), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 32 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:historical fiction, history, WWII, Warsaw, Jewish Ghetto, the Holocaust, starvation

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The Cats in Krasinski Square by Karen Hesse


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A brief and easily read narrative about a girl who has escaped the Warsaw Ghetto. She and her sister are now part of the Jewish resistance. Demonstrated selflessness and an insistence on justice for all people. Historical note at end (nonfiction background). Will use in my classroom. ( )
  engpunk77 | Aug 10, 2015 |
This picture book is historical fiction and is based on events during WWII in Warsaw. The text includes an afterward by the author that provides facts and information about the events the book is based on. This story could have many educational purposes. It could provide an introduction to the Holocaust for younger students who may not have much background information. It could also be used in a thematic unit about sacrifice, bravery, hope, or injustice.
  bflanagan | Jul 31, 2015 |

This story is about a little girl who has escaped the ghetto and now lives with her older sister. Her older sister and her friends plan to smuggle food on the train for the people who still live in the ghetto. The Gestapo heard about the plan and took dogs to sniff out the food smugglers. The young girl had a plan to gather all the cats in Krasinski Square and put them in baskets. When the train arrives they set all the cats loose to distract the dogs so they could gather all the food from the train.


I do not have a connection with this book. However, even though it was not allowed, I was extremely touched that the litter girl, her sister, and their friends wanted to help the people that were still in the ghetto. This book is a lesson that you should never forget where you come from and all of the people there.


Each student could write an alternative ending to the book. It would be cool to see what other creative ways the students could come up with to get the food off the train.

I could put a stuffed animal cat and dog in a box. Each student would be blind folded and have to reach in the box and feel the animals. They would then have to guess what animal they pulled out of the box while they were still blind folded.
  A_Kolinski | Jul 15, 2015 |
Summary-This is a picture book about real events in World War II. The story begins with cats playing in rubble in Warsaw. The cats no longer have families because the families have been relocated to the ghetto. The main character is a girl who has escaped from the ghetto. She hears of a plan to bring unauthorized food to the ghetto but the gestapo hears of the plan. The girl and the cat distract the bad guys. The extra food makes it to the ghetto.

Personal Response-I enjoyed this book. I really enjoyed the very rich illustrations. This picture is not for younger children but would be a good introduction to the Holocaust for Upper Elementary students.

Extensions- Students could write a journal about the other ways animals help us ( )
  SuzieB1972 | Jul 15, 2015 |
The Cats In Krasinski Square by Karen Hesse is a picture book based on a real event that happened at the train station in Warsaw during WWII. Cats were used to distract the Gestapo's dogs.

Hesse's picture book, though, sets the stage for an otherwise short anecdote. Her protagonist is a girl living with her sister just outside the ghetto as they are blonde and can pass as Aryan Germans. They help smuggle food, when they can, in through the cracks of the hastily built wall defining the ghetto. They have also taken to caring for the cats left behind in the forced relocations of the Jews.

It is in caring for the cats and smuggling the food that they come up with an idea to thwart a plan by the gestapo to arrest the smugglers meeting a train at the station. ( )
  pussreboots | Jul 11, 2015 |
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Awards and honors
In memory of my mother, Fran Levin - K.H.
For my father, Aldren Auld Watson - my teacher, mentor, colleague, and collaborator - W.W.
LJCRS Book Fair Selection 5765
First words
The cats come from the cracks in the Wall, the dark corners, the openings in the rubble.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Those who smuggle goods to Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto find out about a Gestapo plan to intercept the food and use cats (in great numbers) to foil the police by distracting their dogs. A powerful book with a simple, yet harrowing true storyline. Subject matter is likely too much for the youngest readers, unless they have a reason to be investigating the Holocaust. Intermediate and up.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0439435404, Hardcover)

Newbery medalist Karen Hesse tells a harrowing, true story about life in the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII.

When Karen Hesse came upon a short article about cats out-foxing the Gestapo at the train station in Warsaw during WWII, she couldn't get the story out of her mind. The result is this stirring account of a Jewish girl's involvement in the Resistance. At once terrifying and soulful, this fictional account, borne of meticulous research, is a testament to history and to our passionate will to survive, as only Newbery Medalist Karen Hesse can write it.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:51 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Two Jewish sisters, escapees of the infamous Warsaw ghetto, devise a plan to thwart an attempt by the Gestapo to intercept food bound for starving people behind the dark Wall.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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