My Holocaust Story: Hanna, by Goldie Alexander

Hanna (My Holocaust Story)Only this afternoon Papa had warned us of the German threat to Poland. Now the Luftwaffe’s bombs had succeeded in convincing us that everything was about to change.

Hanna and her family have a happy life in Warsaw – until the Nazis invade, and the family must run and hide. Their crime? Being Jewish. Suddenly they have nothing, and every day becomes a fight for survival. First in hiding in the loft of a farmhouse, and later in the ghetto, Hanna must use all her skill to keep herself alive.

Hanna is a moving fictional account of one girl’s Holocaust story. Hanna is, at the start of the story, a fairly normal child: she has friends, is close to her family, and worries about things like missing out on gymnastics training. But as the Nazi occupation forces her family into a radically different life, she grows and discovers new talents and new strength.

Hanna shares a terrible chapter in history with a young audience who may not be familiar with it, in a form which makes it accessible and movingly real.

My Holocaust Story: Hanna, by Goldie Alexander
Scholastic, 2015
ISBN 9781743629673

Available from good bookstores or online.

Meet My Book: That Stranger Next Door, by Goldie Alexander

Today’s visitor is Goldie Alexander, here to answer the ten questions which allow us to meet her new book. Over to you, Goldie.

1. Give us the details – title, publisher, illustrator, release date.  cover image for That Stranger Next Door

“That Stranger Next Door” is published by

ISBN 9780992492434 (eBook) 978-0-9924924-4-1

  This book can be bought from reputable bookstores. RRP  $18.00


2. Why did you write the book?

What triggered me was the plight of our asylum seekers and the ‘Children Overboard’ incident, a situation John Howard used to regain his position as our prime minister. The similarity to the events of 1954 was overpowering.

“That Stranger next Door” is set at the height of the ‘Cold War’. In the United States, Senator McCarthy was using anti-communist laws to force academics, film makers and other intellectuals to a senate hearing to ask if they ever belonged to the Communist Party and to name anyone who had gone to their meetings. Many people lost their jobs and their families. Some even committed suicide.

When an insignificant Russian diplomat called Vladimir Petrov defected to Australia, promising to provide information about a Russian spy-ring, he forgot or avoided mentioning this to his wife. As Evdokia was pulled onto a plane in Darwin, she was rescued at the last minute by ASIO and hidden in a ‘safe house’. At the time PM Menzies was also trying to bring in similar anti-communist legislation to the US, and thankfully, in this he was unsuccessful.

3. How long from idea to publication?

From idea to actual publication took about three years. But between times I had a bad accident and that slowed things down.

4. What was the hardest thing about writing it?

Finding the right publisher. Too many young submissions editors didn’t know anything about the Petrov Affair, or they didn’t see any relevance to the present by exploring the 1950’s, or they didn’t think young readers would be interested in that affair.

5. Coolest thing about your book?

The relationship between Jewish Ruth and Catholic Patrick, a strictly Romeo and Juliet affair. Also, how restrictive it was to be a teen back in the fifties.

6. Something you learnt through writing the book?

Careful research. How important it is to have convincing characters. How stories develop almost on their own from the character’s personalities, and the times they live in. How important it is to write several drafts before submitting a novel to a publisher. I could go on and on as every book I do can feel like starting all over again.

7. What did you do celebrate the release?

Though I rarely launch my latest books in bookshops or festivals, a wonderful opportunity came up to launch ‘That Stranger Next Door’ at a the Melbourne Jewish Writer’s Festival. Many of my writing and other friends turned up to help me celebrate.

8. And how will you promote the book?

Through Twitter and Facebook, my own blog, and other blogs such as this. Also, a blog tour featuring other well known authors such as Kate Forsythe, Hazel Edwards, George Ivanoff,  Jane Yolen, Pauline Luke, Julia Lawrenson, Errol Broome and Felicity Pulman. These blogs will turn up on Clan Destine and my own blog. These very respected authors talk about their own work.

 9. What are you working on next?

I have just had “In Hades” come out and will have to use the time promote it. As ‘In Hades’ is a verse novel, I expect some ‘different’ responses.

10. Where we can find out more about you and your book?

There is lots of material on my website and more on my blog

All my books for young readers have Teacher Notes.

Finally, thank you Sally for allowing me to visit your blog.

Shape Shifters, by Goldie Alexander

Acacia had vanished. In her place was a tree with curly, yellow leaves. Every branch was covered in prickles.
Penny gasped. She couldn’t believe what her eyes were showing her. She blinked and blinked.

Penny is amazed when she sees the new girl, Lei-Lei, change the school bully into a tree. Lei-Lei has learnt to shape shift, and now Penny wants to learn to do it, too. Soon, both girls are able to shape-shift when they are in danger, but next they must learn to use this skill only for good.

Shape Shifters is an intriguing fantasy offering for primary aged readers. Kids will enjoy the novelty of the girls’ shape-shifting skills. At just 48 pages long and with plenty of illustrative support, Shape Shifters is ideal for children making the transition to junior novels.

Shape Shifters is part of the Aussie School Books series.

Shape Shifters, by Goldie Alexander
Aussie School Books, 2007

Cow-Pats, by Goldie Alexander

Red’s best friend is his cow, Daisy. He likes her because he knows he can tell her everything and, although she’ll listen, she won’t tell a soul. But the last thing Red expects is that Daisy will help solve the family’s money problems.

Not only is there a drought, but Red’s dad is also sick. He needs an operation. Red’s big brother, Luke, and his sister Tara are both out of work. The family farm is going to be taken over by the bank. And Red has no money for art supplies. Then, unexpectedly, a stranger comes to visit. Red doesn’t understand a word he says, but he eventually translates his sign language enough to understand that the Stranger wants to buy Daisy’s cow-pats. Red does not understand why anyone would pay hundreds of dollars for cow-pats, but he does know that all this money could be the answer to the family’s problems.

Cow-Pats is a humorous novel for 8 to 12 year old readers (the targeted reading age is 11). As well as being a fun read, it also has subtle messages about family, friendship and even about what makes art works ‘great’.

Part of Macmillan Education’s new Breakers series, Cow-Pats is suitable for classroom use or private reading.

Good fun.

Cow-Pats, by Goldie Alexander
Macmillan Education, 2004

Starship Q, by Goldie Alexander

Iyaki and Aari know they aren’t supposed to be in the starship hangar, but it’s the best place for them to kick a ball. Then their ball accidentally goes into the open hull of a starship and, when the boys try to retrieve it they find themselves in trouble.

The ship has been taken over by a mutineer and when he finds the boys he locks them up with one of his prisoners, a human boy called Jackson. At first Iyaki and Aari, both Igs, think they have nothing in common with Jackson, but as they all struggle to figure out how to escape and how to prevent the mutineer achieving his objectives, they realise they can be friends. Together they just might have a chance of stopping the mutiny.

Starship Q is a fast moving science fiction title for children aged 9 to 12. The characters may be alien, but the dilemmas they face will be familiar to many children – making friends, facing consequences, and believing in one’s own abilities.

Part of the Breakers series from Macmillan Education, Starship Q is suitable both for home reading and classroom use.

Starship Q, by Goldie Alexander
Macmillan Education, 2004