Between Shades of Gray

1941 – Fifteen-year-old Lina Vilkas is arrested by the Soviet secret police and deported to Siberia with her mother and younger brother. Lina fights for her life, vowing that if she survives she will honor her family, and the thousands like hers, by burying her complete story in a jar on Lithuanian soil. Lina’s writings and drawings chronicle her fight for survival, her difficulty accepting help from a Soviet guard she’s supposed to hate, and her struggle to retain faith in mankind amidst the terror.

* A New York Times Bestseller

* An International Bestseller

* A Carnegie Medal Finalist

* Recipient of over fifty literary honors worldwide.

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Author video for Between Shades of Gray

Discussion Guide

Discussion Guide for Book Clubs. The Between Shades Of Gray discussion guide has been correlated to Common Core Standards for grades 7-10.

DOWNLOAD THE PDF (840Kb)

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Lesson Plans For Teachers

In this guide, you will find ties to the curriculum for English and Language Arts concentrations as well as History and Social Sciences. All of the activities, assignments, writing prompts, and discussion questions align with Common Core State Standards for grades 7-10. The guide can be used as a comprehensive tool to teach the book within the context of an English and/or History class for a unit that lasts for 2-3 weeks time, depending on the depth and breadth of each class discussion. Alternatively, the activities can be used independently as enrichment activities. We hope you’ll enjoy the guide and use it in your classroom for years to come.

DOWNLOAD THE PDF (4.21Mb)

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Spanish Educational Guide

Created by Maeva, the Spanish publisher for Between Shades of Gray, in this guide you will find ties to the curriculum for Language Arts concentrations as well as History and Social Sciences. The guide can be used as a comprehensive tool to teach the book within the context of a Language and/or History class for a unit that lasts for 2-3 weeks time, depending on the depth and breadth of each class discussion. Alternatively, the activities can be used independently as enrichment activities.

DOWNLOAD THE PDF

Other Dream Team

The Other Dream Team

Documentary film directed by Sundance winner, Marius Markevicius about the 1992 Lithuanian Olympic basketball team who emerged as symbols of democracy. Forced to play for the Soviet team during previous Olympics, in 1992 Lithuania traveled to the summer games in Barcelona carrying their own flag for the first time in over 50 years. The Lithuanian basketball team made it to the final medal round and the world watched as they had to compete against their former oppressors, Russia.

View it HERE

Dalia Grinkeviciute

A Stolen Youth, a Stolen Homeland by Dalia Grinkeviciute

In 1941, fourteen-year-old Dalia Grinkeviciute was arrested and deported to the Altai region of Siberia. In 1942 she was exiled to the Laptev Sea. Desperate to preserve the story and history of those exiled, Dalia journaled and drew pictures of her experience on small pieces of paper. Fearful they might be discovered by the KGB, Dalia buried her memoirs of deportation in a glass jar in her garden. The memoirs were thought to be lost, but in 1991, the jar was discovered and unearthed. This book, published by the Lithuanian Writers Union in 2001, is an English translation of Grinkeviciute’s original memoirs and provided the general framework for Between Shades of Gray.

View It on Goodreads

Singing Revolution

The Singing Revolution

Documentary film about a tiny nation’s struggle for independence, illuminating how the Estonians kept their identity alive under the Iron Curtain – through singing.

singingrevolution.com

Children of Siberia

Children of Siberia: Memoirs of Lithuanian Exiles

An excellent primary source. The personal accounts of sixteen individuals who were deported to Siberia as children under Stalin’s regime. Originally published in 2011, the book has now been translated into English.

View It on Goodreads

Lithuanians in the Arctic

An excellent primary source and inspiration for the novel, Between Shades of Gray. The book combines the memoirs and sketches from three survivors who were deported to the island of Trofimovsk in the Arctic.

ISBN 9789955034278

Hope and Spirit

An excellent primary source website that contains actual letters from exiles in Siberia translated into English. The curator of the original Hope and Spirit museum exhibit in Chicago, Dr. Plioplys, discovered letters from Ruta Sepetys’ relatives in Siberia and reunited Sepetys with her own history. See “Letters From Siberia” on the site.

hopeandspirit.net

Hill of Crosses

A study model for peace. The Hill of Crosses is a sacred site that symbolizes the peaceful endurance of Lithuania. During their fifty years of Soviet occupation, Lithuanians placed a cross on the hill at Siauliai representing their belief in freedom and the power of the human spirit. The Soviets bulldozed the Hill of Crosses, but each time the crosses reappeared. Today there are over 100,000 crosses on the hill.

Hill of Crosses on Wikipedia

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The Baltic Way

A study model for independence. In 1989 two million people joined hands across Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia in a human chain for freedom and used silence, not violence, to demonstrate their independence.

Baltic Way on Wikipedia

The Endless Steppe

The Endless Steppe: Growing Up in Siberia By Ester Hautzig

Originally published in 1968, this wonderful autobiography for young adults tells the story of Esther Rudomin, a ten year old from a prominent Jewish family deported from Vilna, Poland to Siberia by the Soviets.

View It on Goodreads

Leave Your Tears

Leave Your Tears In Moscow By Barbara Aromas

Originally published in 1961, this non-fiction book by Barbara Armonas describes her deportation and subsequent twenty year battle with the Soviet GULAG system, all while trying to protect her young son.

View It on Goodreads

Leave Your Tears

We Are Here: Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust by Ellen Cassedy

The tragedy of the Lithuanian Holocaust is another little-known story and must be studied to understand the full context of Lithuania’s history.

Author Ellen Cassedy has spent the last decade exploring Lithuania’s encounter with its Jewish heritage, including the Holocaust. She is a frequent speaker about the Holocaust, Lithuania, and Jewish culture. Her book, We Are Here, is the winner of numerous awards.

View it on ellencassedy.com

FOR BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY

“A harrowing page-turner.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

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“Her prose is restrained and powerful, as unadorned as the landscape
in which her characters struggle to survive…
Few books are beautifully written, fewer still are important; this novel is both.”
The Washington Post

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“A superlative first novel. A hefty emotional punch.”
–The New York Times Book Review

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“An eye-opening reimagination of a very real tragedy written with grace and heart.”
Los Angeles Times

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“Ms. Sepetys’s prose is wonderfully uncluttered and sometimes beautiful…a superb though grueling novel.”
The Wall Street Journal

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“An engrossing and poignant story of the fortitude of the human spirit in a dark time in Lithuanian history.”
Associated Press

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“Brave Lina is a heroine young and old readers can believe in.”
Entertainment Weekly

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“Please read this small window into a tragedy.”
NPR

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“An important book that deserves the widest possible readership.”
–Booklist, starred review

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“Sepetys’ flowing prose gently carries readers through the crushing tragedy of this tale that needs telling.”
–Kirkus Reviews, starred review

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“A gripping story that gives young people a window into a shameful, but unfamiliar history.”
School Library Journal, starred review

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“A masterpiece of teen war fiction. Sepetys’ narrative is as elegant as it is unflinching and is bound to move any reader to tears.”
Books Inc.

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“This book sings with truth.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

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“A haunting chronicle, demonstrating that even in the heart of darkness
‘love is the most powerful army.’”
–The Horn Book Magazine

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“A riveting novel.”
Book of the Month Club, blue ribbon selection

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“Beautifully written and researched, it captures the devastation of war while celebrating the will to survive.”
Family Circle

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“Hard to read, but even harder to stop reading, there is no doubt into which category this tremendous first novel belongs.”
The Guardian London

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“A brilliant story of love and survival.”
–Laurie Halse Anderson, bestselling author of Speak andWintergirls

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“A sweeping work of historical fiction, this meticulously researched novel will leave readers breathless.”
Greatest Books For Kids

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“A document long overdue.”
–Richard Peck, Newbery Award-winning author of A Year Down Yonder

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“Beautiful and unforgettable.”
–Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Newbery Honor winning author of Hitler Youth

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“Sepetys has penned a harrowing and heartbreaking novel. Beautifully written and important.”
–Harlan Coben, international bestselling author

BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY

 

New York Times Bestseller

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An International Bestseller

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A Carnegie Medal Nominee

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A William C. Morris Finalist

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New York Times Notable Book

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Wall Street Journal Best Children’s Book

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Winner of The Golden Kite Award for Fiction

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An ALA Notable Book

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Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book of 2011

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YALSA’s Top 10 Best Fiction For Young Adults

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School Library Journal Best Book of 2011

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Booklist Best Book of 2011

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Kirkus Best Book of 2011

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iTunes Best Teen Novel of 2011

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A Junior Library Guild Selection

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Notable Books For a Global Society Award

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An Indies Choice Book Awards Finalist

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IRA Children’s and Young Adult’s Book Award

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Winner of the Volunteer State Book Award

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Amazon Top Ten Teen Books of 2011

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A CYBILS Finalist for 2011

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National Blue Ribbon Selection by Book of the Month Club

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A St. Louis Post Dispatch Best Book of 2011

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A Columbus Dispatch Best Book of 2011

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Winner of the SCBWI Work-in-Progress Grant

 

INTERNATIONAL AWARDS:

Finalist for the Carnegie Medal in the UK

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Shortlisted for the Lewisham Book Award in the UK

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A Waterstones Children’s Book Prize Nominee in the UK

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Amazon Top Ten Books of 2011 in the UK

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Winner of the Prix RTL Lire For Best Novel For Young People in France

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Winner of the Prix Livrentête in France

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Finalist for the Historia Prize in France

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Winner of Le Prix des Incorruptibles in France

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Winner of the Peter Pan Silver Star in Sweden

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Winner of the Prix Farniente in Belgium

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Winner of the Flanders Youth Jury Literary Prize in Belgium

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Awarded Cross of the Knight of the Order in Lithuania

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Winner of the National Patriot Award in Lithuania

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Winner of the Global Lithuanian Leader Award in Lithuania

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A Golden List Nominee in Holland

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A Magazyn Literacki KSIĄŻKI! Best Book in Poland

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Winner of the Prix des Libraries du Québec in Canada

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‘Der Leserpreis’ Readers Choice Finalist in Germany

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A ‘Best Breakthrough Author’ Nominee for the Penguin Teen Australia Awards

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Finalist for the Sakura Medal in Japan

 

STATE AWARD READING LISTS:

Texas Lonestar Reading List Master List (TX)

TAYSHAS Reading List Master List (TX)

Capitol Choices Noteworthy Books for Children and Teens Master List (D.C.)

Black-Eyed Susan Book Award Master List (MD)

Pennsylvania School Librarians Association Award Master List (PA)

The Flume: New Hampshire Readers’ Choice Award Master List (NH)

Kentucky Bluegrass Award Master List (KY)

Nevada Young Readers Award Master List (NV)

Rhode Island Teen Book Award Master List (RI)

Missouri Association of School Librarians Gateway Award Master List (MO)

South Carolina Young Adult Book Award Master List (SC)

Virginia Readers’ Choice Master List (VA)

Eliot Rosewater Rosie Award Master List (IN)

Nebraska Golden Sower Award (NE)

Volunteer State Book Award (TN)

Sequoyah Book Award Master List (OK)

Iowa Association of School Librarians Award Master List (IA)

Maud Hart Lovelace Award (MN)

Young Hoosier Book Award (IN)

Georgia Peach Book Award (GA)

Colorado Blue Spruce Book Award Master List (CO)

Abraham Lincoln Book Award Nominee (IL)

Golden Archer Award Nominee (WI)

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