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Children's Nonfiction Holocaust

The Ship to Nowhere

On Board the Exodus

by (author) Rona Arato

Second Story Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2016
Holocaust, Emigration & Immigration
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2016
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2016
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 13
  • Grade: 4 to 7
  • Reading age: 9 to 13


Rachel Landesman is eleven years old when she, her mother and sister are crammed on board the Exodus, a dilapidated vessel smuggling 4500 Jewish refugees risking their lives to reach Palestine, their biblical homeland. Despite all they had suffered during the Holocaust, Jewish refugees are still not wanted in many countries. Even a Canadian immigration officer famously said at the time “None is too many” when asked how many refugees Canada would take in. Nonetheless, Rachel and the other refugees refuse to give up hope when war ships surround them. Their fight, and the worldwide attention it brought, influenced the UN to vote for the creation of the state of Israel. Made famous by the Paul Newman film “Exodus”, this is the first book for young people about the ship that helped make history.

About the author

Rona Arato is a children’s author with a strong interest in human rights. As a writer and editor for over twenty years, she has written on a wide variety of subjects including education, business, travel, fashion and Internet technology. Her work has appeared in mag-azines and newspapers in Canada, the United States, and England. Rona is the author of Fossils, Clues to Ancient Life and World of Water (Crabtree, 2004) and Ice Cream Town (Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 2007). Her new books include Working for Freedom: The Story of Josiah Henson for Napoleon (Fall 2008), Making a Difference for Maple Tree Press (Fall 2008), and Design It! for Tundra Books (Spring 2009). Rona began writing in the mid 1970s while raising her three children. She has also worked as a public relations consultant for profit and non-profit. She has taught adult Creative Writing for the Toronto District Board and conducted business writing workshops for profit and non-profit organizations in the Toronto area. She has written educational materials for organizations including Mosdos Press in Cleveland, Girl Guides of Canada, and B’nai Brith Canada. From 1994-1998, Rona had the privilege of serving as an interviewer for Survivors of the Shoa, a Steven Spielberg project that recorded the histories of Holocaust survivors. It was this experience that fostered her interest in and desire to write about human rights. Rona discovered Josiah Henson’s story while researching a project on Canadian heroes. She was immediately taken with his strength and courage in the face of seemingly insur-mountable obstacles. His dedication to human rights and freedom spoke to her heart and she hopes that his story will affect others, especially youth, in the same way it has affected her.

Rona Arato's profile page


  • Commended, Sydney Taylor Book Awards Notable Book for Older Readers
  • Commended, Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids & Teens - Spring 2017

Editorial Reviews

... an excellent book with a compelling story for children ages 9-14. It is highly recommended both for its reliable information and for the engaging way that the information is presented.

Jewish Book Council

...a powerful and engaging tale, a story we should never forget.

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

The short chapters keep the pace fast and hold young readers’ attention... A great story on its own or to add to the series, the book will be an asset to both school and synagogue libraries.

AJL Reviews

Arato's prose is never heavy-handed, nor does it gloss over the lack of food, sanitation, or space available to those on the ship. She deftly allows well-documented events to tell the story. The photos and author's notes enhance the historical perspective.... A solid purchase for school libraries. Hand this book to intelligent young tweens in need of informational texts that dig deep and provide valuable connections to the current refugee crisis.

School Library Journal

In this timely tale, Rona Arato fuses the stories of real-life passengers with fictitious characters to create the fear, strength, and determination of refugees already devastated by war yet continuing to fight for freedom... This book is an excellent starting point for discussions regarding the Holocaust, racism, and refugees; topics which are, sadly, still in the headlines today.

Historical Novels Review

Other titles by Rona Arato