Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Jacqueline by Jackie Minniti - Heartwarming Story Based upon Actual Events... Added to Personal Favorites for 2016...

When Jackie Minniti's father came home from the war, he had a very personal, heartwarming story to tell family and friends...and he would continue to share it throughout the years until, finally, when he was becoming older, he talked to Jackie about writing about the little girl that was her namesake...

At first she couldn't imagine an approach to an entire book...but then she started thinking about the child Jacqueline, what she was like and ultimately realized that her story would make a great middle grade children's historical novel.
"Your father says you're a writer. He's been telling me the most amazing story. You've got to write a book  it..."I have a daughter in sixth grade," he said. "She doesn't know anything about World War II. She'd love to read a story like this. And it could help her learn history...

I would make only one comment to her plan... it is also a beautiful family drama that is bound to be treasured by adults as well!

Eric Hoffer Book Award

Literary Classics Seal of Approval
Note: Click for supplemental downloads
 ...supplemental teaching materials are available as free downloads for teachers and home schoolers. Each activity is cross-referenced with the Common Core Standards for Grades 4-8 Language Arts/Literacy and Grades 6-8 History.

"It is nearly nine fifteen."
Monsieur Bergier turned the volume down until Jackqueline could barely hear the radio. The adults huddled around the kitchen table. They'd been listening to Radio Paris, the official government station. Now Monsieur Bergier twisted the knob until he heard the first notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.
Madame Bergier glanced nervously around the room. "David, heck the curtains. Make certain no one can see in."
David got up from his seat by the stove where a single candle provided the room's only light. He'd been stitching a yellow Jewish star onto a shirt. David was learning to be a tailor, like his father, and was becoming skilled with a needle and threat. After smoothing the curtains over the windows, he made a face at Jacqueline and returned to his work.
The radio cracked with static. Monsieur Bergier adjusted the dial until a voice came through. The adults leaned in closer, their bodies tense.
"Here is London. Today is the fourteen-hundredth day of the struggle of the French population for its liberation."
Jacqueline sat on the floor with Mirian. The baby babbled to the little rag doll Monsieur Bergier had made for her. "Shhh," Jacqueline whispered. "You must be quiet now."
Listening to the British Broadcasting Company was strictly forbidden, punishable by high fines and imprisonment. Maman said Radio Paris spouted nothing but German lies and propaganda, and only through the BBC could the French learn the truth. The announcer reported on military operations and gave coded messages for members of the French Resistance. Jacqueline didn't understand them, but she liked to think one of those messages could be from Papa.
...Monsieur Bergier patted his wife's hand. "The end is near, Sarah," he said. "I have heard rumors. The Americans are coming. We must persevere until then." Monsieur Bergier had a cousin who lived in America, so he knew about such things...

JacquelinePrintMinniti's story begins before the Americans came into the war. The Germans had already invaded France and it was only the French Resistance that were helping there in Rennes where they lived.  Jacqueline's father was fighting for France but was located in other cities, until they heard the news...

That Jacqueline refused to accept... 

...from then on she prayed to Saint Bernadette,, who she had loved since her childhood, to bring
him home and would hurry away to watch as each busload of the wounded or prisoners were brought into town...

Could her prayers be answered when they had already received word of his death? Still, Jacqueline prayed for it to be so...

It had been Christmas Eve. He'd come in secret late at night. Since he was a pilot for the Free French Air Force, he had to avoid being spotted by Nazi soldiers...He even brought Jacqueline a Christmas gift--L'Humble Sainte Bernadette, a book about Saint Bernadette of Lourdes.
"I know how much you love to read," Papa said. "This book is about a French girl who was brave and true despite great hardship. She was called by the Blessed Lady when she was only fourteen, just four years older than you. I pray she will watch over you while I am gone.
Gone, Jacqueline thought. Papa, gone? No, it cannot be! She forced her eyes open and realized her thumb was in her mouth. She jerked it out, shocked to have lapsed into a habit she broke when she was five. The words echoed in her mind...
A sudden thought made her bolt upright."
"Maman, do not cry. Papa is not dead," she said. "He is missing, but he will find his way home. He would never leave us..."

But things were getting worse in Rennes and then one day Jacqueline and her mother's neighbors and friends were taken...Only their son, David, had been out that day. When he returned Jacqueline and her mother explained that they had promised to help protect and keep David safe.  The first thing they did was rip off the yellow stars from all his clothes... He was now a relative that had come to live with them..

They had moved everything possible out of the Bergier's home, but there was always a food shortage and things got bad as there were now three mouths and only Mrs. Falna to keep things together... They never heard anything more about where Mr. and Mrs. Bergier and the baby had been taken...until later...
This video is not specifically related to the book, but is meant to be representative of what Mrs. Bergier later may have told the Falnas...

And then the Americans came...

The sun ducked behind a passing cloud, and Jacqueline could see the man clearly. He was an American soldier. She blinked back the tears that stung her eyes. The soldier had Papa's brown hair and dark eyes. As he passed by, he looked at her and smiled. Even his smile reminded her of Papa's...
His name is Bernardo."
She gasped. Bernardo? It couldn't be a coincidence, Saint Bernadette must have sent him...

I loved the book! Especially that the author had Catholics and Jewish families as friends and helping each other during the hated war, with, of course, the Americans coming in as heroes.
But there are many secondary characters that added greatly to the tone of the period, including a neighbor who was a known collaborator...and a precious one-eyed alley cat that gave the children a secret love as they tried to feed him when there was no extra food to be had...Reader feel like we've entered into the war period with all of its tragedy, while at the same time, see the love and commitment of families to each other and to France.  A truly memorable book of how love conquers and destroys the hate of some who go out only to seek power...

May we always, all, remember the atrocities that occurred during that war...and strive, always, for peace. Thank you Jackie Minniti, and your father!), for sharing your personal story about your beloved namesake!

Don't miss this one!


Jackie Minniti was born and raised in the heart of New Jersey. She spent 25 years as a classroom teacher and was an education writer for the Courier Post. After retiring from teaching, she moved to a small beach town on the west coast of Florida and began writing full-time. She decided to incorporate her classroom experiences into a book that would combine the readability of a novel with the elements of a self-help book and give readers an intimate peek behind the faculty room door. "Project June Bug" is a result of that effort. The story of a dedicated teacher's efforts to help a student with ADHD, "Project June Bug" won several literary awards including an Eric Hoffer Book Award, a National Best Books Award, a Royal Palm Literary Award, a Next Generation Indie Book Award, four Parent to Parent Awards, and a Mom's Choice silver medal. "Project June Bug" was also chosen as Book of the Year by Premier Book Awards. 

Jackie's second novel, "Jacqueline," is a middle grade historical based on an experience her father (a WWII veteran) had while stationed in France shortly after D-Day. It was the only war story he was willing to share and became part of the family lore. Set in Nazi-occupied Rennes in 1944, "Jacqueline" is a tale of faith, family, unlikely friendships and the resiliency of the human spirit. With the drama of fiction and the authenticity of personal history, it is both a story about family and a family's story. "Jacqueline" is published by Anaiah Press and has won an Eric Hoffer Book Award and received a Literary Classics Seal of Approval.

Jackie is currently a featured columnist in The Island Reporter, (See story by clicking assets link below) a publication that serves the South Gulf Beaches in St. Petersburg, Florida. Several of her stories have been included in "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books. She also writes a blog, "Fabulous Florida Authors," featuring some of the outstanding writers from the Sunshine State.

1 comment:

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