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Posts Tagged «Holocaust»

The Book Thief

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

book thiefSTUDENT REVIEW

by Markus Zusak, 552 pages, adult audience

Death is a unique narrator. He speaks the truth, while at the same time, gives input on what is happening around him. In The Book Thief, Death spends time observing a little girl named Liesel who was adopted by Rosa and Hans Hubermann in Nazi Germany, after her mother abandoned her. Liesel develops strong bonds with Hans, who steadily teaches her how to read. Slowly, Liesel becomes adjusted to life with her new family. Then, one day, a man comes knocking at their door. His name is Max Vandenburg, and he is in trouble. Being Jewish, he must hide from the Nazis, who would bring him to a concentration camps where he could ultimately die. After Max tells his story, Hans agrees to secretly house him for as long as he can. From that day forward, Liesel had a huge secret kept inside her. Liesel couldn’t tell anyone, not even her new friend, Rudy. During the day, she would go to school, and at night, she would talk to Max and take care of him, always in fear of someone coming to take him. Along the way, Liesel also gains a fondness for books, rather stealing books. Any chance she had, Liesel would find books to steal and add to her collection; a dangerous habit in a dangerous time.

If you enjoy books about World War 2, you might also like is Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys.   

by S. H.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

220px-Theboyinthestripedpyjamas

STUDENT REVIEW

by John Boyne, 335 pages, Grades 8 and up

​​​Bruno is the son of a high-ranking Nazi officer in Germany during World War II. When he learns his family has to move to the country for his father’s work, he is not exited. There isn’t much to do, and Bruno doesn’t have any friends to play with.

Shmuel is an eight year-old Polish Jew who living in the Auschwitz concentration camp. One day, as he is sitting at the edge of camp near the barbed wire fence, Bruno walks up to him from the other side. As they talk, their forbidden friendship grows, and with it comes dangers they are both oblivious to.

If you enjoy historical fiction about World War II, you might also like Between Shades of Gray, and Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys or Paper Hearts, a novel in verse by Meg Wiviot.

By M. L.

Paper Hearts

Monday, November 9th, 2015

Paper-Hearts-Meg-Wiviottby Meg Wiviott, 332 pages, Grades 7 and up

Zlata and Fania are both imprisoned in Auschwitz during World War 2. Each girl has come from a loving family and each has been through a lot even before arriving at the death camp.  Some of their family are dead, some remain a mystery, but hope is a dangerous thing in a death camp. Hope might keep you alive, but maybe it could be your weakness, and there is no room for weakness. Zlata and Fania’s story was based on a lot of real true accounts of Auschwitz. In fact, the real paper heart is on display in the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre in Canada.

If you are interested in stories of the holocaust you might also enjoy: Rose Under Fire, by Elizabeth Wein, The Devil’s Arithmetic, by Jane Yolen, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, by John Boyne, or Berlin Boxing Club, by Riob Sharenow.

The Entertainer and the Dybbuk

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

enterainerby Sid Fleischman, p. 180  Grades 6-9

The Great Freddie is a washed-up ventriloquist (he can’t speak without moving his lips) living in Europe following WWII until one night in Vienna, Austria he opens the closet in his hotel room and finds a dybbuk or Jewish spirit of a boy (Avrom Amos Poliakov) killed by Nazi soldiers during the war.To repay a debt he owes the boy for an incident that happened during the war, Freddie allows Avrom to possess his body and speak through him for the purpose of tracking down the boy’s killer and becoming a bar mitzvah.In the process, Avrom turns The Great Freddie’s ventriloquism act into a smash success and finds a platform for speaking out about the atrocities against Jews by the Nazis during the war, but Freddie finds himself in some awkward situations with his girlfriend.

Connections:  Some other great fiction titles that illustrate the treatment of Jews during World War II try reading Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen, or Hitler’s Canary by Sandy Toksvig.  Check out this video interview with the author.