Hereâ€™s the short version: years ago, while visiting family in Lithuania, Sepetys learned that some of her grandfatherâ€™s relatives had been deported to Siberia following World War II. This knowledge inspired her to write Between Shades of Gray, her debut novel. The book brought attention to the Soviet oppression of Lithuanians and earned Sepetys an invitation to attend an exhibit called â€śLetters from Siberiaâ€ť at the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture in Chicago. â€śThe exhibit was emotional, passionate, and gave attendees a rare glimpse into this little known piece of history,â€ť Sepetys writes. â€śBut walking through the aisles I felt the aching reminder that one story was still missingâ€”my own family’s story.â€ť
Remarkably, only two months later, the curator of the exhibit uncovered some letters and photographs of Sepetysâ€™s deported relatives, including a letter written by her grandfather.
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Tagged: Children & YA