Tulips for breakfast by Catherine Bauer

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Tulips for breakfast could be read as a companion novel to The Diary of Anne Frank. It is a very similar story covering similar content though the outcome is different. Told in the first-person voice of Adelena, whose character is loosely based on the real-life story of Hannell Goslar-Pick (a friend of Anne Frank) Tulips for breakfast draws on research and first-hand accounts of "Hidden children" for historical and emotional authenticity. The author, Adelaide based Catherine Bauer, was inspired by her father’s stories as he recounted his life growing up in a Catholic, non-Nazi supporting family in SW Germany during WW11.

The confinement of children, the risks that their protectors took and the work of the resistance during the Nazi occupation are fascinating topics that simultaneously horrify and inspire young people with the question always being, “What would I have done in this situation? Would I have been brave or would I have been a coward?”

Adelena is a fully rounded character. Through her eyes the reader shares the range of emotions as she faces varying experiences and grows from a child into a young woman. This window of time is WW11 in Amsterdam. Adelena hides in the home of her music teacher because her Jewish parents believed that she stood the greatest chance of survival if she did so.

Catherine Bauer describes the fears and privations of the time - hence the title Tulips for breakfast. Amongst the dreadfulness there are moments of intense demonstrations of the power of the human spirit which gives one faith in the overall goodness of human beings even within the realm of an evil regime. The occasional, accidental meetings of Adelena and Officer Hass provide a thread of hope for humanity. The ending is powerful and enigmatic… especially for young people who love romance…

Tulips for breakfast is a book about the importance of hope, friendship, loyalty, being smart, staying alive, being strong, reliable and courageous even under the toughest possible conditions where your mistake or your cowardice could cost the lives of others. Teacher's notes are available.


Themes: WW11 Amsterdam Nazi occupation, "Hidden Children", Jewish Holocaust.

Wendy Jeffrey