Sepetys, R. (2011). Between Shades of Gray. New York: Speak.

Lina is a normal 14-year old girl who loves to draw and is preparing for art school.  She is excited for summer.  Then one day, her life changes and there is no turning back.  Lina, her younger brother, and her mother are all taken from their home in the middle of the night.  They are thrown on a train with so many others they are crowded in the car; there is hardly room to breathe, let alone move.  Lina and her family aren’t sure where they are going or what is in store for them, and they don’t know where Lina’s father is.  Lina tries to create drawings that she passes on in hopes they will reach her father to tell him they are okay and to let him know where they are.  Soon Lina and her family arrive at their destination: a concentration camp.  They are put to work while the guards try to break their spirits.  Lina holds hope close in her heart that her father is okay and receiving her messages, but she learns that he was sent to a camp where the outcome will not be good.  Lina and her family are in the camp for two years, laboring and trying to survive.  Set in 1941, this novel gives us a glimpse into the lives of those who suffered in the concentration camps.  It is a story of hardship, survival, love, and hope that everyone should read.  The characters teach us many lessons about what it means to be strong and believe in what is important to life, and what is important is not always material.