Hanna Slivka is on the cusp of fourteen when Hitler's army crosses the border into Soviet-occupied Ukraine. Soon, the Gestapo closes in, determined to make the shtetele she lives in "free of Jews." Until the German occupation, Hanna spent her time exploring Kwasova with her younger siblings, admiring the drawings of the handsome Leon Stadnick, and helping her neighbor dye decorative pysanky eggs. But now she, Leon, and their families are forced to flee and hide in the forest outside their shtetele—and then in the dark caves beneath the rolling meadows, rumored to harbor evil spirits.
Underground, they battle sickness and starvation, while the hunt continues above. When Hanna's father disappears, suddenly it's up to Hanna to find him—and to find a way to keep the rest of her family, and friends, alive.
Sparse, resonant, and lyrical, weaving in tales of Jewish and Ukrainian folklore, My Real Name Is Hanna celebrates the sustaining bonds of family, the beauty of a helping hand, and the tenacity of the human spirit.
Tara Lynn Masih is editor of two ForeWord Books of the Year, The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction, and The Chalk Circle: Intercultural Prizewinning Essays. She is author of the critically acclaimed short story collection, Where the Dog Star Never Glows. In addition to other collections, her flash fiction has been anthologized in Flashed: Sudden Stories in Comics and Prose; Nothing Short of 100; and W. W. Norton's forthcoming New Microfiction. Awards for her work include a Skipping Stones Honor Award (for The Chalk Circle), the Lou P. Bunce Creative Writing Award, The Ledge Magazine's Fiction Award, Wigleaf Top 50 recognition, a finalist fiction grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and Pushcart Prize, Best New American Voices, and Best of the Web nominations. She was recently honored with a Neville Award Citation for exemplary stories that deal with climate change, and her essay "Be Prepared to Evacuate" was translated into a dance performance by Dance Box Theater. She is Founding Series Editor for The Best Small Fictions annual anthology and splits her time between Massachusetts and Florida.
“Poetic and vivid. To strong effect, the loveliness of Hanna's thoughts counters the ever-present dangers of what she faces.” –Foreword Reviews, Editor's Pick
“A fluid writer, Masih effortlessly integrates the nuances of both Jewish and Ukrainian folklore, even as she creates a world in which small acts of kindness become feats of courage.” –Hadassah Magazine
“A carefully researched, often moving narrative of one family's struggle for survival.”
“Tara Masih’s lovely, lyrical My Real Name is Hanna made me feel like I was reading a part of my parents’ story that I’d neglected to write. Filled with breathtaking you-are-there historical detail, filigreed with touches of Jewish and Ukrainian folklore, Masih’s tale of a young Jewish girl hiding out in the caves and forests of the Ukraine is a worthy addition to the canon of Holocaust literature for young readers. As fine, delicate, and artful as a painted pysanka egg.”–Helen Maryles Shankman, They Were Like Family to Me, finalist for The 2016 Story Prize
“It’s said the Holocaust defies imagination. Tara L. Masih defies that notion. My Real Name is Hanna is a powerful, revelatory leap of imagination, taking readers on a journey with 14-year-old Hanna from the slowly enveloping horror of the Holocaust, to the literal and spiritual depths of being buried alive, and finally a salvation of ineffable joy and sadness—emerging from a premature grave into sunlight like a defiant young phoenix. An unforgettable odyssey.”–Greg Dawson, Hiding in the Spotlight: A Musical Prodigy’s Story of Survival
“My Real Name is Hanna is a beautifully told and deeply moving novel. Masih is to be commended for shining light on a little-known piece of Ukrainian history and for portraying a Jewish family determined to survive the Second World War. This novel is about the stories that surround and sustain us in the darkest times—from the histories in the trees and in the ground beneath us to the words that feed us.”–New York Times Bestselling Author Tilar J. Mazzeo, Irena’s Children, a New York Post Best Book of 2016
“From the very first lines, this is a beautiful, compelling story. I was moved again and again by Hanna’s courage. It takes a strong imagination and a great heart to bring to life a Jewish family’s struggle to survive in such a dark time as World War II. In bringing light to the caves of memory, Tara Masih gives us the redeeming power of storytelling in this extraordinary story.”–PEN/Hemingway Award winner Bobbie Ann Mason, The Girl in the Blue Beret and In Country
“My Real Name is Hanna is a stirring story of survival, resilience, and love. Masih breathes life into the smallest of details, and gives us a powerful look into a world not often explored.” –Crystal Chan, Bird, shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, winner of the 2015 Burr/Worzalla Award
“A gripping story of courage and endurance in the face of Nazi terror. Tara Masih draws her readers into the lives of a Ukrainian Jewish family, into the persecution and unbelievable hardship suffered during the German occupation of their homeland. My Real Name is Hanna is a book that lives with you long after you have turned the final page.” –Diney Costeloe, Bestselling Author of The Girl with No Name and The Throwaway Children
Skipping Stones Honor Award
National Jewish Book Awards Finalist 2019
Foreword Indies Award Gold Medal for Adult Historical Fiction
Foreword Indies Award Finalist for Young Adult Fiction
2019 Shelf-Unbound Notable Book
Goodreads 2018 Ultimate Fall Reading List for Young Adult Book Fans
The Florida Book Award Gold Medal for Young Adult Books
The Julia Ward Howe Award for Young Readers
My Real Name is Hanna
Tara Lynn Masih