Only the Birds Are Free: The Story of a War-Child in Greece

Author: Cornwell, Anna Christake

Subjects: Greek-Americans; European History; World War II

Age: 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Grade: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Order code: 5728

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 5728S

Only the Birds Are Free: The Story of a War-Child in Greece Cover

Born in the United States to Greek parents, Anna Christake Cornwell was trapped in Greece during the Nazi occupation in World War II. Her mother and father had returned to Greece to educate their young son Tasio and their daughter Anna in the mother tongue and the ways of the homeland. Underlying the parents' concern was their daughter's free spirit, which seemed so different from what was expected of a proper girl in Greece. In 1940, in spite of the growing danger of world war, her father opted to return to the United States, leaving the rest of the family to follow later. But before they could book passage, they were trapped by the war, and Mama was left to protect her two young children from the Nazis for the next five and a half years.

The horrors of war brought Anna, Tasio, and Mama to know hunger and the constant threat of starvation, disease, exposure to the elements, and enemy bullets. Constantly on the alert for raids, the refugees often ran to the mountains to hide, abandoning what little of their belongings remained.

As was the case with everyone they knew, Mama and her children came to hate the Nazis and side with the resistance. As she grew up, Anna’s natural ability marked her for leadership in the resistance, and by the time she was fourteen, she was a leader in the youth resistance movement—with her mother’s full approval. What was proper behavior for a young girl had changed dramatically under the pressure of German occupation.

Only the Birds Are Free is a story of action and emotion. The characters are robust, and the descriptive passages are unforgettable. Anna’s story was originally published in Greek; this is her English translation. Anna and her family now reside in New York.

Born in the United States to Greek parents, Anna Christake Cornwell was trapped in Greece during the Nazi occupation in World War II. Her mother and father had returned to Greece to educate their young son Tasio and their daughter Anna in the mother tongue and the ways of the homeland. Underlying the parents' concern was their daughter's free spirit, which seemed so different from what was expected of a proper girl in Greece. In 1940, in spite of the growing danger of world war, her father opted to return to the United States, leaving the rest of the family to follow later. But before they could book passage, they were trapped by the war, and Mama was left to protect her two young children from the Nazis for the next five and a half years.

The horrors of war brought Anna, Tasio, and Mama to know hunger and the constant threat of starvation, disease, exposure to the elements, and enemy bullets. Constantly on the alert for raids, the refugees often ran to the mountains to hide, abandoning what little of their belongings remained. 

As was the case with everyone they knew, Mama and her children came to hate the Nazis and side with the resistance. As she grew up, Anna’s natural ability marked her for leadership in the resistance, and by the time she was fourteen, she was a leader in the youth resistance movement—with her mother’s full approval. What was proper behavior for a young girl had changed dramatically under the pressure of German occupation.

Only the Birds Are Free is a story of action and emotion. The characters are robust, and the descriptive passages are unforgettable. Anna’s story was originally published in Greek; this is her English translation. Anna and her family now reside in New York.

Only the Birds Are Free: The Story of a War-Child in Greece Cover

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