I first read the sequel to this about 14 years ago. Of course the beginning didn't make an awful lot of sense because I hadn't read this book. It was only a year ago though that I managed to get my hands on a copy of this book and now I have finally read it.
Shadow of the Wall tells the story of Michel, pet name Misha, a Polish jew living in the Warsaw ghetto. He and his sister Rachel live in an orphanage as their mother is too ill to look after them. The orphanage is ran by the famous Janusz Korczak - the brave man who despite offers of freedom and saviour, chose to stay with his orphaned children in the Jewish ghetto. He is a true character and the representation of his person and the thing that he did are true.
Christa Laird is known for writing historically accurate fiction, so I have no doubts that everything portrayed in this book, although mostly fictional, is true to what it would have been. I think importantly, it is a children's book that is actually about a serious subject and I think more children should read this book to get them to understand what happened back then.
I'd say it's probably aimed at children 10 years and upwards, as that is how old I was when I read the sequel [b:Beyond the Wall|3983946|Beyond the Wall|Christa Laird|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51G7HA19HEL._SL75_.jpg|3352552] and I loved that book. I don't think I was that much more advanced in reading then anyone else at the time.
Shadow of the Wall is gritty, realistic and quite sad. But she doesn't pile it on until it becomes suffocating. She portrays it how it was and doesn't gloss over things, but nor does she needlessly dwell on them. Laird writes it in a way you can easily imagine and understand.
I think I learnt more about the holocaust from reading this and the sequel then I ever did as a child in history lesson. Back then we learnt that Jewish people were sent to camps and that was that. They never taught us how they fought back, or about the Warsaw ghetto. I learnt about that from books.
It is a brilliant book, whether or not you are a young person or an adult.