With Fearful Bravery

ISBN 9781770864092 | 5.375″ x 8″ | TPB | $14.95 | Age: 13+ | 240 pp
ISBN 9781770864108 | EBOOK | $9.99

Category: Novels



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After fifteen-year-old Freda’s father disappears on Crystal Night, she, her mother, and her younger sister flee Germany for the “safe haven” of Shanghai. But the safe haven becomes anything but “safe” when Freda’s mother abandons her children. Forced to become an adult before her time, Freda finds strength, work, and new friends. She also joins the Junior Jewish Resistance, a small group of young people determined to show their defiance of Japanese and Nazi soldiers who are too close for comfort in their new home.


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“Kositsky provides a fresh perspective on WWII, and neatly captures the unsettling limbo that paralyzed so many families dislocated by the war. […] A brilliant coming of age story.”
Best Books for Kids and Teens

“This novel is recommended for readers who enjoy stories about survival in difficult circumstances or young people during the Second World War.”
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“In her latest novel, With Fearful Bravery, award-winning author Lynne Kositsky weaves a richly imagined community where unlikely companions become allies with a comradery born from hope, Shakespearean quotes, and the occasional magic trick … A brilliant coming of age story.”
National Reading Campaign

“Of all the books this reviewer has read about the Shanghai experience, and many of them are good, none has ever incorporated itself into my psyche as has this one.”
Jewish Book Council review

CM Magazine


We are standing in the port of Genoa. Waves, battling the wind, climb high enough to splash around our feet, and spikes of rain lash our faces. I tug my too-small coat around me and fasten my little sister Lotty’s jacket buttons, pulling her hood over her beacon-red hair. We are both shivering, partly from the cold, partly — at least in my case — from the frightening events that we might encounter on the way to Shanghai or in Shanghai itself.

“Heaven keep us from the Nazis,” I murmur. If Tateh were here he would probably say that the weather’s a bad omen. As it is, he’s likely intoning Hebrew prayers for us in a prison camp somewhere in Germany. He’ll do anything he can to keep our family safe, and has always believed that when praying he has a private line to God. But perhaps his faith, like mine, has been badly shaken, possibly shattered, by Hitler’s obvious hatred of the Jews and his cruel practices. How could God allow Hitler to take aim against us? What unknown crimes have we committed?

After our desperate escape from Berlin in an overcrowded train, Mameh is attempting to exchange the tickets we hold for the ship Julio Cesare, which arrives in a month, for a berth on
the Conte Biancamano, now in port. They are both bound for Shanghai, but waiting four weeks for the Cesare might land us in trouble. There’s no telling when the port of Shanghai will close to Jewish refugees. There are four of us: Mameh, Lotty (three years old but still sucking her thumb), a friendly old woman named Frau Gold, and me.

With one eye closed in a perpetual wink and a face like a wrinkled apple, Frau Gold has shared our train carriage since Berlin and is happy to continue on with us, as she has no relatives left alive in the world. Lotty calls her New Oma, as our real grandmothers have both died. I’ve begun to call her that too. I’m Freda, aged eleven, but very grown-up for my age, as my tateh used to say. I’m the older sister of Lotty and general manager of all the odds and ends of life when Mameh’s missing or distracted, which happens more often than one might suppose.

New Oma is the only one of us who has tickets for the boat now docked. Mameh seems most anxious to have her accompany us as we approach the Conte Biancamano. I’m sure she’s up to something. She’s painted her face with vampire-red lipstick, black eye maquillage (as she calls it), and an application of glittery powder, which, star-like, floats across her cheekbones. She has a calculating look that I’ve seen many times before. Even though her lipstick is cracked like an old dish at the corners of her mouth, the black spikes of her eyelashes clumped together, she is about to charm someone. There’s no point in wondering who he might be — it’s always a he — but from past experience I know I’ll discover it soon enough. She’s a terrible embarrassment to me, and I wish I could be travelling with Tateh instead of Mameh. But Tateh’s gone.

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About the Author

Kositsky, Lynne - is an award-winning Canadian poet and author. Her poetry has won the prestigious E. J. Pratt Medal and Award, and the Canadian Author and Bookman Award. (read more)

Books by the Author

With Fearful Bravery - Lynne Kositsky
ISBN 9781770864092 | 5.375" x 8" | TPB | $14.95 | Age: 13+

After fifteen-year-old Freda’s father disappears on Crystal Night, she, her mother, and her younger sister flee Germany for Shanghai - a "safe haven" that becomes anything but safe when Freda’s mother abandons her children. (read more)

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