Louder Than Words (The Heroes Quartet)

Written by Kathy Kacer
Review by Melissa Warren

Eldina Sternik is a kind and bright girl. At age twelve, she cares for her younger sisters, reads voraciously, helps her mother with chores, and quietly mourns the loss of her father. She is a model daughter in every way until a stranger, Ludviga (Nina) Pukas, moves into her home. Although Nina is sweet, quiet, and skilled, Eldina deeply resents her mother’s decision to hire a “babysitter.”

Eldina’s mother hires Nina when she makes the painful decision to return to work as a high school teacher. As a Jewish woman in Ukraine with three small children, she has few options for supporting her family. As World War II intensifies, these options disappear, and Nina becomes much more than the girls’ caregiver. Nina’s kindness, fortitude, and curiosity help guide Eldina through a terrifying world.

When the young girls’ neighbors, teachers, and relatives ignore their suffering, it is Nina who protects the family from the Gestapo. Author Kathy Kacer juxtaposes the brave acts of Nina with the cowardly and cruel acts of others. As the residents of Proskurov bully, exclude, and persecute the family, Nina understands, nurtures, and, ultimately, loves Eldina and her sisters,

Louder Than Words is the third book in Kacer’s The Heroes Quartet Series, and it is a powerful portrait of a quiet, humble, and incredibly brave womaen. I highly recommend this story for ages ten and up.