A Polish Girl's Stolen Childhood During World War II
By Krystyna Mihulka, By Krystyna Poray Goddu


192 Pages, 5.5 x 8.5

Formats: Cloth, PDF, Mobipocket, EPUB

Cloth, $17.99 (US $17.99) (CA $23.99)

ISBN 9781613734414

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (Jan 2017)


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As German troops and bombs descended upon Poland, Krysia struggled to make sense of the wailing sirens, hushed adult conversations, and tearful faces of everyone around her. Within just days, the peaceful childhood she had known would disappear forever.Krysia tells the story of one Polish girl's harrowing experiences during World War II as her beloved father was forced into hiding, a Soviet soldier's family took over her house, and finally as she and her mother and brother were forced at gunpoint from their once happy home and deported to a remote Soviet work farm in Kazakhstan.Through vivid and stirring recollections Mihulka details their deplorable conditions—often near freezing in their barrack buried under mounds of snow, enduring starvation and illness, and witnessing death. But she also recalls moments of hope and tenderness as she, her mother, her brother, and other deportees drew close together, helped one another, and even held small celebrations in captivity. Throughout, the strength, courage, and kindness of Krysia's mother, Zofia, saw them through until they finally found freedom. 


Exquisitely detailed, Krystyna Mihulka's Krysia proves in clear and accessible prose that even such malevolent forces as Stalinism and Nazism were rendered powerless in the face of the most basic human order — a loving family. —Eugene Yelchin, author of Breaking Stalin's Nose

"Elegant, eye-opening, and memorable."  —Kirkus Reviews

"This memoir has power and does the necessary work of prompting readers to try to imagine what it's like to be among the millions of children undergoing similar upheavals in the war zones of today." —Booklist

"The text is exceptionally educational, offering language help, maps, and photographs to fill in the details of Krysia's harrowing tale. Still, despite the tragedy, Krysia's story is also one of hope, making it a distinctively interesting and useful nonfiction text for young adult readers." — VOYA

"The child's voice offers a heart-wrenching perspective on the evils inflicted by Nazism and Stalinism along with the suffering the family endured…" —The Buffalo News Online

"It's an affecting personal story, vividly told…" —Wall Street Journal

Author Biography

Born in 1930, Krystyna Mihulka was deported from Poland to Kazakhstan in 1940, where she lived as a political prisoner under Communist rule for nearly two years. After several years in refugee camps in Iran and Africa, she settled in Zambia, where she married and had three children. In 1969 she and her family migrated to the United States. She lives in Pleasant Hill, California, under her married name, Christine Tomerson. Krystyna Poray Goddu is the author of A Girl Called Vincent and Dollmakers and Their Stories. She has contributed to American Girl magazine, the New York Times Book Review, Publishers Weekly, and other publications. She lives in New York City.