True Holocaust Stories for Kids and Adults Because We Cannot Forget
The Children’s Book Review | January 27, 2020
Today marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the concentration camp operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland during World War II and the Holocaust. In the current political environment, it feels as though we’re losing touch with the worst and most important lessons that history has taught us. We must not forget. We must remember. And we must not repeat!
Have you ever read a book that you wished every single adult in the world would read? Because if they did, if every single person read said book, we could all be on our way to being liberated from personal pain, the adversity holding us back, and the hatred that exists around us. We could all be free. I realize this is a lofty goal, so if sharing this here inspires just one adult to pick up a copy of holocaust survivor Dr. Edith Eva Eger’s memoir, THE CHOICE: EMBRACE THE POSSIBLE … that’s one extra person that will be lucky enough to be touched, changed, and inspired to embrace the possible. I believe in the importance of this book so much that I hope you’ll spread the word by sharing a copy with your family and friends and spreading the message that it’s more important to love than it is to hate. Share this with friends struggling with the impact of adversity, grief, or loss. Read it together and also take the time to discuss the power of forgiveness. And don’t just take my word for it, I learned about THE CHOICE while watching an interview between Dr. Eger and Oprah on Super Soul Sunday. Soul searches unite!
After you’ve read THE CHOICE, I recommend reading the following Holocaust stories with your children. As I said above: We must not forget. We must remember. And we must not repeat!
Written by Gloria Moskowitz-Sweet
Poems by Hope Anita Smith
Illustrated by Lea Lyon
Publisher’s Synopsis: A powerful middle grade novel-in-verse about one boy’s experience surviving the Holocaust.
Moishe Moskowitz was thirteen when the Nazis invaded Poland and his family learned the language of fear. The wolves loomed at every corner, yet Moishe still held on to the blessings of his mother’s blueberry pierogis, of celebrating the Sabbath as a family, of a loyal friend. But each day the darkness weighed more heavily on Moishe as his family was broken, uprooted, and scattered across labor and concentration camps. Just as his last hopes began to dim, a simple act of kindness redeemed his faith that goodness could survive the trials of war: That was the day it rained warm bread.
Gloria Moskowitz-Sweet relates her father’s triumphant Holocaust story through the words of award-winning poet Hope Anita Smith. Deftly articulated and beautifully illustrated by Lea Lyon, this is an essential addition to the ever-important collection of Holocaust testimonies.
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Ages 9-13 | Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. | August 13, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1250165725
Edited by Kath Shackleton
Illustrated by Zane Whittingham
Publisher’s Synopsis: Between 1933 and 1945, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party were responsible for the persecution of millions of Jews across Europe. This extraordinary graphic novel tells the true stories of six Jewish children who survived the Holocaust.
From suffering the horrors of Auschwitz, to hiding from Nazi soldiers in war-torn Paris, to sheltering from the Blitz in England, each true story is a powerful testament to the survivors’ courage. These remarkable testimonials serve as a reminder never to allow such a tragedy to happen again.
Features a current photograph of each contributor and an update about their lives, along with a glossary and timeline to support reader understanding of this period in world history.
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Ages 10-14 | Publisher: Sourcebooks Explore | October 1, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1492688921
Written by Trudy Ludwig
Illustrated by Craig Orback
Publisher’s Synopsis: Gifts from the Enemy is the powerful and moving story based on From a Name to a Number: A Holocaust Survivor’s Autobiography by Alter Wiener, in which Alter recalls his loss of family at the hands of the Nazis and his internment in five prison camps during World War II. This picture book tells one moving episode during Alter’s imprisonment, when an unexpected person demonstrates moral courage in repeated acts of kindness to young Alter during his imprisonment. Written by acclaimed children’s writer Trudy Ludwig, author of Better Than You and Confessions of a Former Bully, and illustrated by award-winning children’s book illustrator Craig Orback, Gifts from the Enemy teaches children in age-appropriate language about the dangers of hatred, prejudice, and stereotyping and that there are good and bad in every group of people. The accompanying questions and activities for readers provide teachers and parents with helpful direction in presenting this history and the valuable story. Gifts from the Enemy highlights how acts of social justice and kindness can change lives.
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Ages 8-12 | Publisher: White Cloud Press | 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-1935952978
Written by Gail Herman
Illustrated by Jerry Hoare
Publisher’s Synopsis: A thoughtful and age-appropriate introduction to an unimaginable event—the Holocaust.
The Holocaust was a genocide on a scale never before seen, with as many as twelve million people killed in Nazi death camps—six million of them Jews. Gail Herman traces the rise of Hitler and the Nazis, whose rabid anti-Semitism led first to humiliating anti-Jewish laws, then to ghettos all over Eastern Europe, and ultimately to the Final Solution. She presents just enough information for an elementary-school audience in a readable, well-researched book that covers one of the most horrible times in history.
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Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Who HQ | June 19, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0451533906
Written by Antonio Iturbe
Translated by Lilit Thwaites
Publisher’ Synopsis: Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.
Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.
Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.
Ages 13-18 | Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. | Oct. 10, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1627796187
Publisher’s Synopsis: In 1945, in a now-famous piece of World War II archival footage, four-year-old Michael Bornstein was filmed by Soviet soldiers as he was carried out of Auschwitz in his grandmother’s arms. Survivors Club tells the unforgettable story of how a father’s courageous wit, a mother’s fierce love, and one perfectly timed illness saved his life, and how others in his family from Zarki, Poland, dodged death at the hands of the Nazis time and again with incredible deftness. Working from his own recollections as well as extensive interviews with relatives and survivors who knew the family, Michael relates his inspirational Holocaust survival story with the help of his daughter, Debbie Bornstein Holinstat. Shocking, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting, this narrative nonfiction offers an indelible depiction of what happened to one Polish village in the wake of the German invasion in 1939.
This thoroughly-researched and documented book can be worked into multiple aspects of the common core curriculum.
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Ages 10-14 | Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux | March 7, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0374305710
Written by Anne Frank
Publisher’s Synopsis: Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit.
In 1942, with the Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, the Franks and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annexe” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death. In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and surprisingly humorous, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.
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Ages 10-13 | Publisher: Bantam | 1993 (Reissue) | ISBN-13: 978-0553296983
Written by Dr. Edith Eva Eger
Publisher’s Synopsis: At the age of sixteen, Edith Eger was sent to Auschwitz. Hours after her parents were killed, Nazi officer Dr. Josef Mengele, forced Edie to dance for his amusement and her survival. Edie was pulled from a pile of corpses when the American troops liberated the camps in 1945.
Edie spent decades struggling with flashbacks and survivor’s guilt, determined to stay silent and hide from the past. Thirty-five years after the war ended, she returned to Auschwitz and was finally able to fully heal and forgive the one person she’d been unable to forgive—herself.
Edie weaves her remarkable personal journey with the moving stories of those she has helped heal. She explores how we can be imprisoned in our own minds and shows us how to find the key to freedom. The Choice is a life-changing book that will provide hope and comfort to generations of readers.
Winner of the National Jewish Book Award and Christopher Award and a New York Times Bestseller.
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Adult Content | Publisher: Scribner | September 5, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1501130786
The article True Holocaust Stories for Kids and Adults Because We Cannot Forget was curated by Bianca Schulze. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with History, Holocaust, and Hope.
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