Life in A Jar

Life in A Jar

The Irena Sendler Project

Book - 2011
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During World War II, Irena Sendler, a Polish Catholic social worker, organized a rescue network of fellow social workers to save 2,500 Jewish children from certain death in the Warsaw ghetto. After the war her heroism was suppressed by communist Poland and remained virtually unknown for 60 years-- until three high school girls from an economically depressed rural school district in southeast Kansas stumbled upon a tantalizing reference to Sendler's rescues, which they fashioned into a history project.
Publisher: Middlebury, Vt. : Long Trail Press, 2011
Edition: 2nd ed
ISBN: 9780984111312
Branch Call Number: Fiction Mayer
Characteristics: 382 p. : ill., map ; 26 cm

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m
Mmegood
Sep 17, 2017

In a word: Inspirational.

Irena Sendler is a woman after my own heart. Doing what she feels is right in order to help people regardless of their background. She doesn't think of herself as a hero but only doing what ANY decent person would do. I hope if I were confronted head on with such a dire situation I would be as brave and selfless as she.

This is a great book. A wonderful reminder that there is good being done even when there doesn't seem to be.

Additionally, this book was motivational from the more current day portion in that the young women who developed the script for "Life In A Jar" come from a depressed rural area. This is much like my own experience where there were and still are economic hardships for many and how that shapes your life experience and perspective. This book outlines that regardless of your demographic or background, you have the ability to make a difference in the lives of those around you. You can do this in the most unexpected ways.

e
EmilyEm
Jun 10, 2017

Irena Sendler’s story and that of Liz, Megan and Sabrina, the Kansas girls who ‘rescued the rescuer’ from obscurity by telling her extraordinary story as their school History Day project is an emotional journey readers will take with them.

A Kansas friend recommended reading it along with Tilar J. Mazzeo’s 'Irena's Children: The Extraordinary Story of the Woman Who Saved 2,500 Children from the Warsaw Ghetto,' which I read first. So, I read this one for the three girls’ stories and to learn how their project changed Irena’s life and theirs. Remarkable. Was a five-Kleenex read for me!

JCLCassandraG May 12, 2017

An amazing story without a doubt, but this book gives equal attention to the high school girls who discovered Irena Sendler (as an effective means of drawing us in). If you're looking for something that gives a full historical account of Sendler's life, Tilar Mazzeo's Irena's Children may be more up your alley. Life in a Jar is written as if a novel and the liberties the author takes in imagining dialogue and putting together the characters as he recreates scenes may be off-putting if you're looking for a purely historical read.

c
cknightkc
May 01, 2017

LIFE IN A JAR honors Irena Sendler, a Polish social worker and nurse who heroically rescued more than 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII. Her remarkable story was virtually unknown until 3 Kansas teenagers uncovered it in 1999 as part of a school project for National History Day. The book is written simply and sincerely by author Jack Mayer. Although I found the parts devoted to the teens and their backstories to be a little too long, clunky, and preachy, the story really takes off and shines when the reader meets Irena and follows her brave and selfless actions during the Holocaust. LIFE IN A JAR is a moving reminder of the ripple effects one’s life can have across time, distance, and generations.

teddypawz May 28, 2016

I gave it 5 stars. I think more schools today need "Mr. C's" way of teaching. One person can make a difference! More need to step it up or pay it forward. I could go on and on about how awesome Irena Sendler and all like her truly are. A must read for all.

n
njaneal
Feb 15, 2016

This is the best book I have ever read about the Holocaust - reads like a novel but is based on all that is true. The brutal truth, what everyday people did to try to save people. The heroine in this book is discovered by 4 girls in Kansas for a History Day project - 10 years later their project continues. A must read - word of caution though - the stories as you know about the Holocaust are awful.

p
poodlegirl
Jun 19, 2014

A MUST READ for anyone, and especially someone interested in WWII history. This story within a story really shocked me. This amazing woman saved SO MANY Jewish children from the Polish Ghetto...and, nobody has ever heard of her. How this is possible, I have no idea. And, the 3 teen girls who discovered her in the early 2000's were forever changed despite their own challenging lives.

j
joanalang
Jun 14, 2014

This is a powerful book. I wept through much of it, sometimes at the depravity and evil of the Holocaust, and sometimes moved by the bravery of Irena Sendler and her network of helpers.
It is also the lovely story of three (and then more) naive Kansas girls who learned about Irena Sendler and created a simple play, Life in a Jar, to tell part of her story as a history project. The project transformed their lives. It has been performed hundreds of times in many different venues and is still ongoing (see http://www.irenasendler.org). They are brought to Poland by benefactors to meet Irena, who lived to be 98, and visited several times, forming a loving connection. They "rescued the rescuer" from obscurity, as her story had been suppressed by the government(!)

As with the story of Oskar Schindler, Irena's actions raise the question: "Why?" Why step up when most did not? And: what would I have done? What would I do if such unthinkable persecution took over in my own country, in my lifetime? Schindler apparently was a swindler before his heroic years, and his life was a mess afterwards. What triggered his decency and courage in the face of real dangers? Irena, by contrast, was consistently a good and humane woman; still, what can motivate and sustain such bravery? There are no answers here. Irena maintains her actions were simply "the need of my heart." How different our world would be if only all of our hearts felt such needs, and our courage measured up to the needed actions.
This is a novel in that many passages, especially dialogue, have been reconstructed or imagined by the author, based on his research (including interviews with Irena Sendler and others). But it is also a true story, and a memorable one.
Highly recommended.

s
salvatoregirl
Jun 26, 2013

can't wait to read!!!!

mebsie Mar 31, 2013

I would have given this book more stars if I could. Unputdownable.

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m
Mmegood
Sep 14, 2017

Mmegood thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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white_swan_166
May 05, 2015

white_swan_166 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 13 and 99

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m
Mmegood
Sep 14, 2017

Frightening or Intense Scenes: The flash back portions to Warsaw may be intense for some. The topic of starvation is covered significantly. The sewer portions may be frightening or grotesque. The constant fear of being discovered helping Jews or as a hidden Jew may be intense for some.

m
Mmegood
Sep 14, 2017

Violence: Nazis mistreating Jews and Poles. Physical harm, mental anguish.

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m
Mmegood
Sep 20, 2017

Irena Sendler is a woman after my own heart. Doing what she feels is right in order to help people regardless of their background. She doesn't think of herself as a hero but only doing what ANY decent person would do. I hope if I were confronted head on with such a dire situation I would be as brave and selfless as she.

Additionally, this book was motivational from the more current day portion in that the young women who developed the script for "Life In A Jar" come from a depressed rural area. This is much like my own experience where there were and still are economic hardships for many and how that shapes your life experience and perspective. This book outlines that regardless of your demographic or background, you have the ability to make a difference in the lives of those around you. You can do this in the most unexpected ways.

This is a great book. A wonderful reminder that there is good being done even when there doesn't seem to be.

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