#BookReview: Tulips for Breakfast, Catherine Bauer (author), Ford Street Publishing, October 2022.


Set in World War II Amsterdam, from the arrival of the German army through to liberation, Tulips for Breakfast is a powerful and relatable tale of life, death, friendship and the ability of the human spirit to both endure and transcend evil.


A story that will reach deep within your soul. Raw, heartrending, gripping. To comprehend this life in hiding, in fear, in eternal hope – a reality based on real life events. What happened during World War II should never be forgotten. A piece of history that should never be repeated.

Historical fiction novel for young adults, Tulips for Breakfast, is an incredibly moving tale by author and history-enthusiast, Catherine Bauer. She spent many months of thorough research, including personal letters from Holocaust survivor and friend of Anne Frank; the late Hanneli Goslar-Pick (died age 93 in Jerusalem, 2022). Based on the real-life accounts of Hanneli, the main character is teenager Adelena (Lena), with whom we are brought into the emotional journey as she remains for years under the secret protection of music teacher, Ilse Graaf, entrusted by her desperate parents as they all fight for their best chances of survival. Behind the scenes, we know of the overarching horrendous atrocities towards the Jews that occurred across Germany and Europe from the late 1930s. In this story, we are plunged into the accounts of the heartache and isolation of being a Hidden Child; the feeling of abandonment, the fear of discovery, guilt, longing, hunger, illness … But, amongst the adversity, Lena shows us her courage, her need for connection and the outside world, albeit risky, and her clinching hold on feelings of gratitude, hope, and love. It’s such an aching story of loss and hardship, but with powerful flickers of warmth, spirit and loving memories that shine a beacon of light all the way through to the end.

Whilst the darkness of evil saw crimes of injustice, persecution and murder, Bauer ensures that the good and the triumphs of this time are reflected – the friendships, the protection, the loyalties, and the sparing of lives when it seemed unlikely, just like German Officer Hass did for Lena. This book gives readers that assurance that a heart full of love is far greater than one of hate. With prejudices and divisions still prevalent today, a book like this is so important for young adult readers to reflect on the significance of the impact of history, and how these implications still exist today. Tulips for Breakfast is a powerful tool for discussion and for raising awareness for our young people to consider global social and political issues with empathy, understanding, non-biased judgment and a fortitude to work towards change and a world with kindness, peace and humanity.

We can all find a connection or relatability factor with this story. For Catherine Bauer, it is the link to her father’s memories of growing up in a Catholic, non-Nazi supporting household in South-West Germany in WWII. For readers, it may be the effects of our recent isolated lockdowns, or their own discriminatory challenges they are facing. For me, it is the link to my own family history dating back to pre-war Germany. In addition, what I find so affecting about this story, Tulips for Breakfast, is the extent of the harrowing conditions endured in order to survive through The Hunger Winter – with as little as sugar beets and tulip bulbs for replenishment. Adelena’s resilience and determination is utterly remarkable.

Knowledge of the Holocaust should be wide-spread across generations. Hanneli Goslar-Pick’s incredible story is a tribute to all of the survivors, the survivors’ families and descendants of the war. In honour of this amazing soul and to all that have perished, let the memory of the Holocaust forever live on – ‘keep the story alive’.

Achingly stirring. Essential. Highly recommended.

Review by Romi Sharp.

For more from Catherine Bauer please read our interview here. Tulips for Breakfast will follow with a sequel, to which the life journey of Adelena and her family following the war is highly anticipated.

Please visit Catherine Bauer at her profiles: LinkedIn Facebook Instagram

Tulips for Breakfast is available for purchase at:

Ford Street Publishing


Join this momentous campaign with Catherine Bauer and her powerful novel, Tulips for Breakfast, moving readers across the blogosphere!

#tulipsforbreakfast #historicalfiction #secondworldwar #holocaust #loveozya #justkidslit

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