New Young Adult Novel Takes Unique Approach to Revisiting WWII

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Unlikely friendships develop in Michelle O. Donovan’s new book, “Joshua, Helmut, and Bethlehem”.

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The characters demonstrate that even during times of war and violence, the innocence and purity of hearth through God’s guidance are the source of important lessons for human kind.

Author Michelle O. Donovan announces the release of her newest book, “Joshua, Helmut, and Bethlehem” (published by iUniverse, November 2011).

From Jerzy Kosinski’s The Painted Bird to Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl , literature is rife with many tales of the cruelty of World War II as seen through the eyes of the young. While Donovan brings young readers another such tale, she has added an ingredient that turns what could be a garden-variety story of adversity into something much more. The ingredient of note is whimsy.

With her new young adult novel “Joshua, Helmut, and Bethlehem” Donovan delivers a story that explores the innocence of childhood amidst a world where innocence is in short supply.

In “Joshua, Helmut, and Bethlehem,” readers meet 9-year-old Joshua. Because of his family’s Jewish heritage, Joshua and his family are sentenced to live in concentration camps. Scared and alone, Joshua tries to blend into the camp’s background and stay in the barracks as long as he can as he knows that those who leave the barracks never come back. Recalling teachings about Jesus as their Lord and Savior, Joshua prays that God will send him a friend while he’s held prisoner.

One day, while trying to hide under the floorboards, Joshua meets a little mouse whom he calls Bethlehem. The tiny mouse befriends him; when the boy is taken to live with a German family – who has a 9-year-old son named Helmut – Bethlehem tags along. Although the boys become fast friends, Joshua isn’t sure what will happen if Helmut ever discovers Bethlehem’s existence. Will Bethlehem be sent away? Will Joshua?

“This story depicts the brotherly bond that a German and a Jewish boy develop during a time when all odds are against them,” says Donovan. “The characters demonstrate that even during times of war and violence, the innocence and purity of hearth through God’s guidance are the source of important lessons for human kind.”

“Joshua, Helmut, and Bethlehem” asks readers to consider the unconditional love and acceptance that, as Donovan says, “are the keys to creating a better tomorrow for our children.”

About the Author
Born in France, Michelle O. Donovan moved to Canada in 1968. She has always loved writing stories for children. Inspired by her father’s experience in the concentration camps during World War II, she also wrote “Christmas Miracle,” a short story designed to make children aware of the cruelty of war.

iUniverse, an Author Solutions, Inc. self-publishing imprint, is the leading book marketing, editorial services, and supported self-publishing provider. iUniverse has a strategic alliance with Indigo Books & Music, Inc. in Canada, and titles accepted into the iUniverse Rising Star program are featured in a special collection on iUniverse recognizes excellence in book publishing through the Star, Reader’s Choice, Rising Star and Editor’s Choice designations—self-publishing’s only such awards program. Headquartered in Bloomington, Indiana, iUniverse also operates offices in Indianapolis. For more information or to publish a book, please visit or call 1-800-AUTHORS. For the latest, follow @iuniversebook on Twitter.

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