Gary Schmidt has gathered a collection of very short and very powerful stories that were first told in the barracks of concentrations camps. Written as the stories of Mara, they're delivered as tales she would recite each evening as another day was coming to an end and those who had survived the day came together for reassurance and hope. These are great read alouds and a tremendous testimony to courage and strength. In the first story, a violinist sits on his bunk and plays an imaginary violin. He can hear the sounds of each bowing. One day a man is herded into the barracks and our violinist knows he is looking at a great master of the stringed instrument. He is a man our violinist had heard and admired in the past. Our violinist sits and plays imaginary duets with the master. The day arrives when the Germans come to take a group off to the showers and our violinist steps into the place of the master and walks to his fate leaving the other violinist to share his amazing gifts with the world. They are poignant, powerful and speak of the best and worst of human beings.