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Sarah’s

Interview with Sarah Starzynski

Key

Leaving her Brother, Being Taken by the French Police, and Feelings Towards her Father

Exclusive: Sarah’s Key Details of a devastating adventure of horror...

Unlocking the Past

A variety of songs and a Lyrical Analysis related to the adventure of Sarah Starzynski

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Key Selection A book review written by Megan Lee for Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

February 2012 CAN $5.99

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February 2012 Volume 1

February 2012 Sarah’s Key

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“She couldn’t imagine why there was such a difference between those children and her. She couldn’t imagine why she and all these other people with her had to be treated this way. Who decided this, and what for?” ~Sarah Starzynski

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February2012 Sarah’s Key


Featured Contents 4-5

Exclusive Interview with Sarah Starzynski

We sit down with Sarah Starzynski to talk about events that have recently occurred in her life

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The key to Unlocking the Past

A soundtrack that relates to the book “Sarah’s Key”, and an analysis of lyrics

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Where Sarah’s From

A poem by Megan Lee expressing the conflict and theme in the book Sarah’s key 9-11

Exclusive Book Review for Sarah’s Key

An exclusive, never seen before book review by Megan Lee for the remarkable novel, Sarah’s Key

February 2012 Sarah’s Key

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In Depth: Sarah Starzynski On being taken by French Police, leaving her brother behind, and her feelings towards her Father

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arah Starzynski is a gallant, ten year-old Jewish girl with shoulder length honey coloured hair, sparkling eyes, and an iridescent personality. Recently, the French Police went door to door arresting Jewish families in the darkest hour of the night and as a result, Sarah was taken with her mother and father. When the French police realized they forgot Sarah’s four year-old brother, Sarah unwillingly lets her brother hide in their secret place: a cupboard. As Sarah and her family leave her brother behind and are taken to the colossal and somber Vel’ d’Hiv, they have no clue when they will return, or if they will return at all.

Q: A week ago, the French Police arrived at your door in the middle of the night. What were you feeling?

tered under his breath, “I’m going to our secret place,” but I disagreed. I tried to grab him, but he squirmed from my grasp and slithered into our hiding place, which was a cupboard. I saw him clutching his teddy bear, and he did not look scared. At that moment I thought that he could be safe, with water and a flashlight to read his favorite book Un Bon Petit Diable. Also, he would not be found by the police since the cupboard was hidden in the surface of the wall of our bedroom. I felt certain that he would be safe, and I would come back soon to take him out.

A: From the first thump on the front door, I was quite shocked and I admit I was really petrified. I thought at first it was my papa, coming up from his hiding place in the cellar, and that he’d forgotten his keys. But then came multiple voices, rough and brutal in the silent night, screaming, “Police! Open up! Now!” I was worried that they would take my papa, but I was absolutely flabbergasted when they told mama and “Why so much pain, so much I that we had to come with them. Mama looked so plaintive, sobbing suffering?” “It’s because they Q: You have stated multiple times that you her eyes out, and I wanted to make hate us. They hate Jews.” “Hate that nobody explains anything to me” her feel better but I didn’t know and that you hate being treated like a baby. ~Sarah and Rachel, in Base Could you elaborate on what you mean by this? how. I had no clue what was going Camp. on, and the next thing I knew I was being taken away. A: Mama and papa never tell me anything, and stop talking whenever I enter the room. They don’t exQ: Recently, you unwillingly agreed to let your brother plain things to me, and I have no idea what is going on. hide in the cupboard away from the French Police. What I feel so frustrated, not knowing what is happening and made you agree to letting him stay in the cupboard? why this is happening to me. What is so bad about being Jewish? Why was I brought to this arena? When would A: Oh, mama told me to get him, but he refused to move. I be able to go back home and see my brother again? All I tried to cajole him, but he did not listen to a thing I these questions float in my head, yet nobody explains to said. Mama strictly told me to get my brother and bring me. Why can’t anyone explain things to me? I’m not a him back, but he just would not agree. My brother mutbaby anymore!

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February 2012 Sarah’s Key


Q: Speaking again about your brother, what are your feelings right now about your brother, and do you regret your choice to leave him behind? A: I miss my little brother terribly. I miss his blond curls, his plump face, his gleaming eyes. I can only hope he will be safe, and will survive with just water. He trusted me to come back, and trusted me implicitly. I keep wondering when mama, papa, and I will return back home to see my brother. I start to wonder whether my choice to leave my brother behind was a smart decision, but I always convinced myself that him being back in the cupboard was better than this hell. People dying constantly, moans and whimpers all throughout the day, surely being back in the cupboard would be better than this. I hope he will be safe and will survive, and that I can go back and see his face again. Q: You recently had a mad outburst at your father about how he doesn’t explain anything to you, and you started pummeling him. What are your feelings right now about your father? A: I felt livid that he never explained anything to me about why we were taken from our homes, and brought to this repulsive, odorous place. I was irate and felt disconsolate that we were leaving my brother behind, and I felt infuriated that papa did not tell me anything about the danger and did nothing to protect my brother. I thought that my brother would be safe, and I would come back and see him, but now I am traveling to an unknown place, and will never know when I will see my brother again.

“Nobody would tell her. Nobody would explain. She hated being treated like a baby. She hated the voices being lowered when she entered the room. If they had told her, if they told her everthing they knew, woudn’t that have made today easier?” ~Sarah Starzynski, in Vel’ d’Hiv.

February 2012 Sarah’s Key

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Song Playlist

Do you know what’s worth fighting for? When it’s not worth dying for? Does it take your breath away And you feel yourself suffocating? Does the pain weigh out the pride? And you look for a place to hide? Did someone break your heart inside? You’re in ruins One, 21 guns Lay down your arms, give up the fight One, 21 guns Throw up your arms into the sky, you and I When you’re at the end of the road And you lost all sense of control And your thoughts have taken their toll When your mind breaks the spirit of your soul Your faith walks on broken glass And the hangover doesn’t pass Nothing’s ever built to last You’re in ruins One, 21 guns Lay down your arms, give up the fight One, 21 guns Throw up your arms into the sky, you and I Did you try to live on your own When you burned down the house and home? Did you stand too close to the fire Like a liar looking for forgiveness from a stone? When it’s time to live and let die And you can’t get another try Something inside this heart has died You’re in ruins One, 21 guns Lay down your arms, give up the fight One, 21 guns Throw up your arms into the sky One, 21 guns Lay down your arms, give up the fight One, 21 guns Throw up your arms into the sky, you and I

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February 2012 Sarah’s Key

Armstrong, Billie Joe. “21 Guns.” In “21st Century Breakdown.” By Green Day. Reprise. Butch Vig, May 25 2009


Unlocking the Past

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A song anaylsis of Green Day’s ‘21 Guns’

ar has been a hallmark of human societies since the beginning of time; conflict and fighting everyday, filling people with hatred, resentment, and generating animosities towards others. Throughout the song 21 Guns, the idea is created that you should give up a fight that is not worth dying for. Additionally, people try to keep their pain inside of them, resulting in hurting themselves even more. The song 21 Guns expresses this enduring, appalling truth in innumerable ways. The author asserts in the second verse, “Your faith walks on broken glass, 
And the hangover doesn’t pass, 
Nothing’s ever built to last, 
You’re in ruins.” Here we see that you are in pain, there is nothing worth living for, and your confidence is fading away. The writer remarks, “Does the pain weigh out the pride? 
And you look for a place to hide? 
Did someone break your heart inside? 
You’re in ruins.” Clearly, the author implies that you have pain, but you are too proud to admit it, resulting in you not seeking help for your pain. The author affirms, “You’re in ruins,” exaggerating the point that you are suffering and your life is falling apart. To emphasize, the message that the author of the song is trying to convey is to give up a fight that is not worth hurting each other, to let out the pain you are hiding inside.

There are multiple effects of the poetic devices in the song 21 Guns. For example, “Your faith walks on broken glass,” is an example of personification because faith is nonhuman, and this line gives faith a human trait. I think that this line really brings out the point that your pain inside is killing your confidence, and your confidence and hope inside of you is dying. “When your mind breaks the spirit of your soul,” is an example of personification because your mind is not able to break the spirit of your soul. Specifically, this line is saying that all your pain inside of your head, is killing you inside, and your will to live and confidence is lowering. “Did you stand too close to the fire? 
Like a liar looking for forgiveness from a stone?” is an example of a simile because if you stood too close to a fire, then you are like a liar looking for forgiveness from a stone. I think that this states you were close to dying, and you kept the pain inside of you, and

you can’t handle the pain alone, just like it is impossible for you to get forgiveness from a stone. The song 21 Guns can relate closely to the book Sarah’s Key because it brings out the theme of the desolation and sorrow that, if left to fester, can gradually, agonizingly kill you inside. For example, the main character, Sarah Starzynski, who is a gallant ten year-old girl with honey blond hair, has had grief and sorrow throughout her life. Firstly, along with her parents, she gets brutally ripped away from her home by the French Police during World War II. Subsequently, she gets separated from her parents, oblivious to the fact that they would die. Throughout these events, she feels as if “Someone broke her heart inside,” and she thinks, “Why so much pain, so much suffering?” when she is torn away from her parents. Many years later when she starts her own family, she keeps all her pain and suffering inside, and does not tell her son and husband about all that has happened in her past. Similarly, the song 21 Guns is about how you keep distress and misery inside in a way that gradually leads you to a state, similar to death. For example, the lyrics “When you’re at the end of the road 
And you lost all sense of control 
And your thoughts have taken their toll 
When your mind breaks the spirit of your soul” is stating when you are near dying, the thoughts inside of you are killing you inside and your soul. William, Sarah’s son, says he had no clue what had happened in his mom’s life, meaning that Sarah never shared with anyone about her past life, keeping the pain inside of her. As a result of keeping the pain locked inside of her, she had killed herself when she was 40 by hurtling her car into a tree. In conclusion, the themes in 21 Guns relates to Sarah’s Key because of how the pain inside of Sarah was killing her faith, confidence, and her will to live, resulting in death.

February 2012 Sarah’s Key

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Where I’m From I am from placid snake streets, From the burly buskers on the narrow pathways Tranquilly crooning in French in the brisk morning. I am from the acrid stench in the concealed, musty cupboard, Murmuring softly “Un Bon Petit Diable,” to my brother In the everlasting gloom. I am from the barbaric roundup, Bludgeoned mercilessly by French Police out of my hearth. From abandoning my brother in the grimy cupboard, Devastation and trauma swirling inside of me Parts inside of me being torn apart. I am from Operation Spring Breeze, From soft whimpers and sniveling Throughout the starless night Knowing my life would never be the same. I am from the briny Ocean and coarse sand, Splashing and sprinting along the shore. I am from Michel’s golden ringlets, His four-year old glistening eyes Memories seem so far away. I am from the ostracized outsiders, A six-pointed star Stitched tightly on my clothing, Families’ dirty stares burn holes right through me Isolating me from the others As if I had a disease. I am from my brother’s death, From the grungy cupboard Where he lies withered and motionless. I am from a noose of regret Running away from the past, Pain reaping me inside, Hoping for a better life. 8

February 2012 Sarah’s Key


Key Selection

Should Sarah’s Key be included in the Grade 8 Language Arts Curriculum?

T here had been over four thousand Jewish children penned in the Vel’ d’Hiv’, aged between two and twelve. None of them came back from Auschwitz. The historical novel, Sarah’s Key, is the tragic and calamitous tale about a gallant ten-year old girl’s traumatic journey through the devastations of a Jewish roundup. With its shocking, riveting, and morally challenging story, I strongly believe Sarah’s Key should be included in the grade 8 Language Arts Curriculum because the beginning immediately draws you into the story, there is

perpetual suspense, making you want to know more, and the author uses descriptive and sophisticated language to create vibrant and vivid images in your mind. Tatiana de Rosnay’s ability to entice the reader from the first sentence is one of the central points as to why Sarah’s Key should be included in the grade 8 Language Arts Curriculum. For instance, the author affirms, “The girl was the first to hear the loud pounding on the door.” Here we see that the author immediately goes right into the plot, sparking curi-

osity inside of the reader, making them ponder what is happening. Additionally, the author remarks, “She thought it was her father, coming up from his hiding place in the cellar. He’ d forgotten his keys, and was impatient because nobody had heard his first, timid knock. But then came the voices, strong and brutal in the silence of the night. Nothing to do with her father. “Police! Open up! Now!” We can conclude from this that at the very beginning of Sarah’s Key, the author promptly captivates the reader, and brings you immediately into the plot.

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Not only does Sarah’s Key draw the reader into the doleful tale of a Jewish roundup immediately, but Tatiana de Rosnay also generates riveting, perpetual suspense in Sarah’s Key, which is another key point as to why Sarah’s Key should be incorporated in the grade 8 Language Arts Curriculum. For example, The Roanoke Times asserts, “Rich in mystery, intrigue, and suspense, Sarah’s Key made me wonder and weep.” From this we can understand that numerous authors and publishers praise Tatiana de Rosnay’s sensational writing, and Sarah’s Key contains unremitting suspense. Similarly, Tatiana de Rosnay adds in the novel Sarah’s Key, “Listlessly, the girl watched the buildings, the tress drift by. She could only think of her brother in the cupboard, in the empty house, waiting for her. She could only think of him. They crossed a bridge, she saw the Seine sparkle. Where were they going? Papa didn’t know. Nobody knew. They were all afraid.” Clearly, this shows the suspense in the story, and is thought provoking, making you contemplate what is going to happen next.

“Already translated into fifteen languages, the novel is de Rosnay’s tenth (but her first written in English, her first language). It beautifully conveys Julia’s conflicting loyalties, and makes Sarah’s trials so riveting, her innocence so absorbing, that the book is hard to put down.” -Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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February 2012 Sarah’s Key


Furthermore, Tatiana de Rosnay’s ability to generate striking images in the reader’s mind is the third main reason why I believe that Sarah’s Key should be included in the grade 8 Language Arts Curriculum. Specifically, Tatiana de Rosnay asserts, “We were going to leave the boulevard du Montparnasse, its noisy traffic, incessant ambulances due to three neighboring hospitals, its cafes and restaurants, for this quiet, narrow street on the right bank of Seine.” From this, we can conclude that the author can create vivid images of the setting by using rich language, and brings you into the timeframe of the story. Moreover, the author states, “Zoe was only eleven, but it sometimes felt like she was already a teenager. First, her height, which dwarfed all her

girlfriends-as well as her feet, she would add grimly-and then a precocious lucidity that often made me catch my breath. There was something adult about her solemn, hazel gaze, the reflective way she lifted her chin.” Here we see that the author can efficiently describe the characters, while giving the reader a magnificent image as to what the character would look like. In brief, Sarah’s Key contains innumerable examples of rich, descriptive language that evoke images in the readers mind. In conclusion, these three arguments I have stated are the main reasons why I fervently believe the enthralling novel, Sarah’s Key, should be included in the grade 8 Language Arts Curriculum. The captivating

novel is composed of ceaseless suspense, an engaging introduction, and there is frequent use of intricate words to create lurid, radiant images in the readers mind. For example, Publishers Weekly states, “A haunting, riveting novel... This book grabs your heart in the opening chapter, and its scenes and characters stay with you long after you finish.” Additionally, Library Journal remarks, “Masterly and compelling, it is not something that readers will quickly forget. Highly recommended.” This engrossing novel has satisfied over 2 million people worldwide, and I profoundly believe that Sarah’s Key should unquestionably be included in the grade 8 Language Arts Curriculum. ~Megan Lee

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February 2012 Sarah’s Key


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