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Children's Fiction Holocaust

End of the Line

by (author) Sharon E. McKay

Annick Press
Initial publish date
Aug 2014
Holocaust, General, Europe, Jewish, Alternative Family
Recommended Age
8 to 11
Recommended Grade
3 to 7
Recommended Reading age
8 to 11
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2014
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Download Teacher’s Guide

Where to buy it


Ordinary citizens risk everything to save a young Jewish girl in wartime Holland.

Five-year-old Beatrix looks on in horror as the soldier forces her mother off the tram. It is 1942 in Amsterdam, and everyone knows what happens to Jews who are taken away by the Nazis. The soldier turns his attention to Beatrix, when suddenly, the ticket-taker, Lars Gorter, blurts out that she is his niece. With his brother Hans, the tram conductor, they manage to rescue the child from the same fate as her mother.

The two elderly brothers realize that they are now in charge of the little girl. They are at a loss—after all, neither one has ever married, let alone has children. They know that harboring a Jew could cost them their lives, but in desperation, they turn to a neighbor, Mrs. Vos, for help. But even these kindly rescuers cannot shield Beatrix totally from the horrors of war.

This suspenseful novel vividly portrays the fear, uncertainty, and terror of the Nazi occupation in Holland. It is a story that reflects both the worst and best of humankind. A worthy addition to children’s books about the Holocaust, The End of the Line will leave young readers to ponder how the most dreadful conditions can lead ordinary citizens to perform the most heroic acts. People like Lars, Hans, and Mrs. Vos, who risked their own lives to save Jews in wartime Europe, were later recognized and honored as “Righteous Gentiles.”

About the author

Sharon E. McKay is the award-winning author of many books based on real events, including War Brothers: The Graphic Novel and Thunder Over Kandahar. She was also named a Canadian War Artist and spent time in Afghanistan embedded with the Canadian troops. She lives in Prince Edward Island.

Sharon E. McKay's profile page


  • Short-listed, IODE Violet Downey Book Award finalist
  • Winner, Ann Connor Brimer Award, Atlantic Book Awards
  • Winner, Silver Birch Express Award, Ontario Library Association
  • Winner, Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award

Editorial Reviews

“Makes your heart feel like it’s beating out of your chest with each turn of the page. It’s wonderfully descriptive with emotion . . . You’ll be angry, you’ll be horrified, but ultimately, you will feel incredible love and relief. I loved this book.”

Mom Read It, 02/08/15


LibrisNotes, 11/27/14

“A story that will stay in your thoughts long after you have read the last word. Superbly written!”

Sally’s Creative Corner, 10/16/14

“Suspenseful . . . will engage young readers.”

OmniLibros, 06/15

“[A] gentle, simple story . . . with well-drawn characters.”

Library Media Connection, 06/14

“A suitable introduction for children to the Holocaust and World War II.”

Youth Services Book Review, 12/06/14

“Would serve as a good introduction to the deprivations suffered during war.”

River Readers, 01/27/15

“[Allows] children to learn some grim realities without annihilating their sense of hope.”

Kirkus Reviews, 08/27/14

“A standout and an essential addition.”

Canadian Children’s Book News, 03/15

“McKay is able still to provide moments of sweet tenderness and a reassuring ending that will fill one’s heart with gladness and one’s eyes with tears.”

Can Lit for Little Canadians, 06/30/15

“The author combined history and fiction and made both come alive. ”

Association of Jewish Libraries Reviews, 12/14

“Sensitively touches on the atrocities of war in a way that is understandable to younger readers.”

Jewish Book Council, 06/15

“A thoroughly appealing, totally engaging book for young readers.”

The Children’s War, 08/29/14

“A wonderful, amazing book.”

Inside Toronto, 10/22/14

Librarian Reviews

The End Of The Line

Ordinary citizens risk everything to save a young Jewish girl in wartime Holland. Also available: Janusz Korczak & the Orphans of the Warsaw Ghetto by Irene Cohen-Janca @SharonEMckay

This title can be used in the classroom as a Literature Circle choice where students discuss the Holocaust. This novel helps students learn about those who harbored Jews during World War II. Moreover this title can help student consider the choices and sacrifices one needs to make in order to help others survive.

Source: Association of Canadian Publishers. Top Grade Selection 2016.

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