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End of the Line

Interest Age: 8–11
Grade: 3–7
Reading Level: Common Core Correlations
CCSS.ELA-Literacy Strand-Reading literature: W.5.1,2,3,4,7,8,9,9a,10

Reading Level: Lexile 710L
Hardcover : 9781554516599, 128 pages, August 2014 , 8.25" x 5.5"
Paperback : 9781554516582, 128 pages, August 2014 , 8.25" x 5.5"
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781554516605, 128 pages, September 2014
Rights sold: simplified Chinese, German


Ordinary citizens risk everything to save a young Jewish girl in wartime Holland.

Five-year-old Beatrix looks on in horror as the soldier forces her mother off the tram. It is 1942 in Amsterdam, and everyone knows what happens to Jews who are taken away by the Nazis. The soldier turns his attention to Beatrix, when suddenly, the ticket-taker, Lars Gorter, blurts out that she is his niece. With his brother Hans, the tram conductor, they manage to rescue the child from the same fate as her mother.

The two elderly brothers realize that they are now in charge of the little girl. They are at a loss—after all, neither one has ever married, let alone has children. They know that harboring a Jew could cost them their lives, but in desperation, they turn to a neighbor, Mrs. Vos, for help. But even these kindly rescuers cannot shield Beatrix totally from the horrors of war.

This suspenseful novel vividly portrays the fear, uncertainty, and terror of the Nazi occupation in Holland. It is a story that reflects both the worst and best of humankind. A worthy addition to children’s books about the Holocaust, The End of the Line will leave young readers to ponder how the most dreadful conditions can lead ordinary citizens to perform the most heroic acts. People like Lars, Hans, and Mrs. Vos, who risked their own lives to save Jews in wartime Europe, were later recognized and honored as “Righteous Gentiles.”


  • Short-listed, IODE Violet Downey Book Award finalist 2015
  • Winner, Ann Connor Brimer Award, Atlantic Book Awards 2015
  • Winner, Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award 2015
  • Winner, Silver Birch Express Award, Ontario Library Association 2015


“[Allows] children to learn some grim realities without annihilating their sense of hope.”

- Kirkus Reviews, 08/27/14

“A thoroughly appealing, totally engaging book for young readers.”

- The Children’s War, 08/29/14

“A story that will stay in your thoughts long after you have read the last word. Superbly written!”

- Sally’s Creative Corner, 10/16/14


- LibrisNotes, 11/27/14

“A suitable introduction for children to the Holocaust and World War II.”

- Youth Services Book Review, 12/06/14

“The author combined history and fiction and made both come alive. ”

- Association of Jewish Libraries Reviews, 12/14

“Would serve as a good introduction to the deprivations suffered during war.”

- River Readers, 01/27/15

“Makes your heart feel like it’s beating out of your chest with each turn of the page. It’s wonderfully descriptive with emotion . . . You’ll be angry, you’ll be horrified, but ultimately, you will feel incredible love and relief. I loved this book.”

- Mom Read It, 02/08/15

“[A] gentle, simple story . . . with well-drawn characters.”

- Library Media Connection, 06/14

“A wonderful, amazing book.”

- Inside Toronto, 10/22/14

“A standout and an essential addition.”

- Canadian Children’s Book News, 03/15

“McKay is able still to provide moments of sweet tenderness and a reassuring ending that will fill one’s heart with gladness and one’s eyes with tears.”

- Can Lit for Little Canadians, 06/30/15

“Sensitively touches on the atrocities of war in a way that is understandable to younger readers.”

- Jewish Book Council, 06/15

“Suspenseful . . . will engage young readers.”

- OmniLibros, 06/15