"Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning, my brother's was worth a pocket watch."
Between Shades of Gray is the harrowing story of Lina, a Lithuanian girl, separated from her father and deported from her homeland along with her mother and younger brother. Their crime? Being anti-Soviet.
Abused, starved, and broken, Lina is taken to Siberia along with countless other prisoners, to live out their sentences as slaves. Given little to survive on and with no access to medical care, many of the deportees did not survive the cruel cold of an arctic winter.
Those that did survive were forced to work for the Soviets for no pay and meager rations. If they couldn't work, they were murdered or had to rely on the kindness of others to carry on.
Ruta Sepetys is the author of Between Shades of Gray. The story is a personal one. Sepetys is the daughter of a Lithuanian refugee, and her book is a tribute to the hundreds of thousands of people who suffered and died when Stalin purged the Baltic countries of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
This summer I had the pleasure of hearing Ruta Sepetys speak at the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' conference. She was being honored with The Golden Kite Award. Sepetys is not only a gifted writer, but a charismatic and inspiring speaker.
Her message above the signature on my copy is simple: Hope. Love. Freedom! Thank you, Ruta, for your story. Lina is a character for the ages.
Blog you later!