What people are saying about Refugee Child

"Kalman tells the story of the Revolution from the perspective of the nine-year-old child she was at the time. She captures the exhilaration that buoyed the Hungarian people when they tried to oust the Soviets, the fear that gripped them when tanks rolled in to end the uprising, and her family’s despair at leaving their beloved grandparents behind when they escaped to Vienna. She brings the story to the present with a discussion of her marriage and family and her career as a children’s book author. An introduction provides background about Hungary, her family, and the difficulties of life under Communist rule, and a final chapter discusses the background of the 1956 Revolution and the liberation of Hungary in 1990. Family photos and color illustrations and maps supplement the text."
—School Library Journal, 12/06

"In 1956, Bobbie Kalman was nine and living in Mosonmagyaróvár, Hungary, a town made infamous when the state police opened fire on unarmed protestors during the Hungarian Revolution. Kalman records her memories of that day and her family's subsequent defection to Canada in Refugee Child, a book that combines historical and personal narrative with photographs and illustrations… Prolific author Kalman tells her own story for the first time, chronicling the excitement and terror that marked her family's nighttime escape to Austria. Her descriptions of her grandparents, and their final farewell, are particularly moving, and the narrative should make a profound impression on young readers about the real costs of forced immigration. Educators will find it a useful resource on a topic not otherwise well documented for children."
— Quill and Quire magazine

"Part memoir, part history, this moving book has many strengths. Kalman's decision to write her story from the perspective of a child works extremely well. Her choice of vocabulary and descriptions of the events capture the emotions of the time, effectively drawing the reader in. There are abundant family and archival photographs, maps and illustrations which add to the reader's understanding and enjoyment of the book. And, finally, those readers who only know Kalman as a name on a book title can now put a human face to the name and get to know her as a person, someone who has overcome adversity and has become an inspiration to others. Writing about herself, Kalman says that she will never forget the kindness shown to her by the Huber family in Austria and has spent the rest of her life "paying forward" that kindness to others. With world events such as they are today, this book, with its universal themes of oppression, war and displacement, is timely and inspirational. Highly Recommended."
—CM Magazine, Jan 19/07

“1956 saw the first tear in the Iron Curtain. A people rose up against impossible odds and fought for freedom only to be brutally crushed by the Soviet military machine. 200,000 would flee across the minefields to freedom. What must this have been like for a 9-year-old girl and the parents that tried to protect her? ‘The Soviets occupied our country and wanted Hungarians to forget who we were.’ But Bobbie's own memories make sure we do not forget. A bittersweet tale of innocence, fascination, fear, courage, and reawakening, Bobbie Kalman’s Refugee Child gives us a unique glimpse of this historic time from the perspective of a wide-eyed young girl.We must never forget!”
–Bryan Dawson-Szilagyi, Executive Committee Chairman, American Hungarian Federation

“In Refugee Child, Bobbie Kalman has forged a unique mix of history and personal story, a child’s view of Communist Hungary and escape from her country’s oppressors. Kalman has made her story accessible to people of all ages, enriching history and memoir through photos and art.”
–Priscilla Galloway, Winner of the International Bologna Ragazzi Award

“The three parts of the book, The Introduction, Bobbie’s Story, and The Hungarian Revolution are a clever arrangement of facts that turn your story into a wonderful teaching tool. The book is so well-done and dressed with illustrations and photographs that it is delicious, like all the kalács you loved to eat! I don’t know how you did it, but you really did write as a nine-year-old girl. Your book is gripping and full of drama.”
–John C. George, Author and Publisher

“Refugee Child is terrific and, typical of her (Bobbie Kalman’s) books for children—well written, colourful, manageable-length reading sections, interesting photos, maps, and illustrations. Her story told of hardships as well as good times and making difficult decisions without coming across as a “please feel sorry for me—I’ve been through so much” type of story. Because it was written from a child’s viewpoint, it is appealing to the age group 9 and up—they would be able to relate to leaving behind friends, belongings, etc. (and in the same circumstances would not know the real fear or danger that could await them), but it is also a great read for adults. It shows what could be accomplished through determination, hard work, and believing in yourself.”
–Sandra Wells, L.& S. Consulting

“You really get a sense of a precocious little girl, having been accustomed to one life and then, all of a sudden, forced into a new one, yet making the best of it, despite the obvious setbacks, longings, and typical nine-year-old limitations. Besides being an enjoyable read, it made me think a fair bit too, mainly because your father at the time was my age (35). I think of all the people like him having to make crucial snap life-and-death decisions with the responsibilities for a family and his own safety hinging, not only on the decision, but on its successful execution. It’s a daunting thought, yet one that makes me admire the resolve of everybody who wanted a better, safer, freer life for their loved ones and took the calculated risk to achieve it. Anyway, you are to be commended for getting your story into print and for sharing your experiences with the hope of inspiring others never to let circumstances or adversity deter them from becoming everything they can be.”
—Sean Charlebois, Editor

“I spent several weeks with Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans as a Red Cross volunteer. In Bobbie’s book, Refugee Child, I experienced again the incredible universal feelings associated with children who have been displaced. Bobbie describes these feelings so poignantly that it brought tears to my eyes.”
—Priscilla Baker, nurse and Red Cross volunteer

“I finished your book and thought it was just brilliant. Having been barely one year old when my parents left, I had no recollection of any of those events. Maybe for me that was the best thing.You have nicely filled in what was left to my imagination—thanks for that. I feel like I have roots all of a sudden. Your book also made me think about my fellow townies and, most of all, my beloved grandparent who must have been crushed when we left. You were very fortunate to have known your grandparents...this is a sadness and an empty spot that I shall have for life. I also loved your descriptions of Vienna and Schonbrunn..having visited both numerous times...I felt the magic you described but oddly never felt like I wanted to be a Princess (grin). Thank you so much for your gift of your self and then the book. Give the Austrians a big hug from me as well. You are a wonderful, remarkable woman, and I hope I meet you face to face someday.”
—George Rizsanyi, www.rizsanyiguitars.com, born in Mosonmagyaróvár, Hungary

I read Refugee Child and was totally blown away. Yes, it is a 'children's' Book, and, yes, I am a middle-aged professor..........BUT, I learned sooooo much! And, between us, I cried three times! I love the part where the Soviet soldiers think they are close to the Suez Canal—what a hoot! It is WONDERFUL Bobbie! Mahalo for sharing this with me and the world. You are an inspirational writer.
—Gina Bailey, Honolulu, Hawaii

A couple of weeks ago, I received a wonderful book by Bobbie Kalman titled Refugee Child. The book is about the Hungarian Revolution and how it was seen through the eyes of a nine year old…I was eleven years old when I arrived in Canada with my family and this book resonated with my experiences. It reminded me of how well we were treated in Austria, where we were befriended by an Austrian family. It also reminded me of the heroic effort of Austrians in offering refuge to 90% of the 200,000 refugees who fled Hungary…that is why, as we commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution, I think it only right that we thank the Austrians for what they did and acknowledge their contributions. I urge you to invite them to your commemorative events and personally thank them for their efforts.
—Hon. Andrew Telegdi, P.C., M.P.

Your book (Refugee Child)…is a very welcome introduction to the Hungarian Celebrations, which we will have in Ottawa. I was also very touched by your kind letter, your autographed dedication of the book and your generosity towards Austria. As I have already written to you I remember the events of October 26, 1956, very well. We were all listening intently to the radio messages to find out what was happening and wondered where the Soviet tanks would stop. We had many Hungarian refugees in the village where I lived and we children listened to their stories about the Revolution. Part of our family is Hungarian speaking and for them October 26, 1956, was a major catastrophe. Thank you again for providing me with this unique book and for writing to us.
—(H.E.) Otto Ditz, Ambassador of the Republic of Austria in Ottawa

Thank you very much for your kind letter and for the moving testimony to the role that Austria played in assisting the Hungarian refugees in 1956. It is extremely kind of you to think about ways to thank the Austrian people as part of the anniversary commemoration…I will bring your beautiful book to the attention of my authorities, and thank you again for your kind words.
—(H.E.) Eva Nowotny, Ph.D., Austrian Ambassador to the United States of America

Copyright Crabtree Publishing 2006