As a modern day Jewish girl, Laura is timid and quiet, struggling to make sense of the acts of discrimination and hatred happening in her own community, and lacking the confidence to speak out on these issues. After reading Sara Gittler's diary, and learning about Sara's life as a child in the Holocaust, Laura, learns to become proud of who she is, finding the courage to stand up for what she knows is right.
Nix (Nicole) Wilcox
Laura's best friend. She is Christian.
Laura and Nix's friend. He is Jewish.
Laura's Rabbi. He arranges for Laura to meet Mrs. Mandelcorn in preparation for Laura's Bat Mitvah.
Mrs. Mandelcorn is a sweet and slightly mysterious woman who lives in Laura's city. Although old, she is strong and vigorous. She gives Laura the diary of Sara Gittler. At the end of the book we find out her real connection to Sara.
Sara and her family are Jewish and live in Poland in the 1940s until they are forced from their home by the Nazis and made to live in the Warsaw Ghetto. Sara keeps a diary, describing the challenges of daily life and her family's fight to stay alive in the ghetto. She uses her gift as a writer to help herself deal with the terrible conditions and the terrifying time of the Ghetto Uprising, when the Jews in the ghetto fight back against the Nazi soldiers.
Very practical, Sara's mother works hard to ensure the survival of her family and does not share her husband's view that books and art are an important part of their life in the ghetto.
Sara's father is a very cultured man, an educator and a lover of books who believes the arts have an important role to play in helping to ensure their survival.
Angry about the injustices occurring around him, Sara's older brother is frequently at odds with his parents as he often risks his life to help those who are suffering the most in the ghetto. He becomes one of the Jewish Resistance fighters.
Hinda is a Sarah's younger sister who as a small child living in the ghetto is especially vulnerable to the lack of food and other harsh conditions.
Just as Sara uses her talents as a writer to help understand what is happening to her and her family, her best friend Deena uses her own talent as an artist to keep her spirit alive.
Janusz is a doctor who runs the ghetto orphanage and who selflessly protects the children for whom he is responsible.