Friday, January 9, 2015

On My Bookshelf: A Child's Book About the Holocaust


Yellow Star

History is my favorite subject, and World War II and the Holocaust is a topic that I am very fond of reading about. Often it can be intense reading material though. While I strive to educate my children about the Holocaust, it is difficult to find appropriate reading material that will teach the younger ones without being completely unsettling to them. There is no way around it - the Holocaust was a horrifying time in history. Reading about the atrocities committed against humanity is very difficult, albeit necessary.

Because I am an Amazon Prime member, I am allowed access to the Lending Library For Prime Members: Free Ebooks, Movie Downloads And TV Series For Kindle Owners With Amazon Prime

With the Lending Library, Prime members can borrow a Kindle book for free every month. I have come across some really neat books that I would never have read if it weren't for this neat feature. 

Yellow Star is one of those books that I read as a result of it being in my "recommended reading" list from Amazon. Because of another book I had read about the Holocaust, this one came up. Because I could borrow it for free, I downloaded it. I was completely and pleasantly surprised by this book - the magnitude of it's story and how deeply it touched me.

About the Book: Yellow Star is a 242 page book written in a prose style. The author, Jennifer Roy, interviewed her aunt, Sylvia Perlmutter, who was a survivor of the Lodz Ghetto in Poland during World War II.

Age Appropriate: While the book does describe some of the horrors the Jews experienced living under Nazi rule, it is told from the perspective of a child, based on the memories of Sylvia, who was four years old when the Nazi's invaded Poland and forced the Jews into the ghettos. Because of the way it is written, this book is appropriate for middle school age students. While some of the killings are mentioned, they are described in a somewhat abstract manner.

Highlights:  Sylvia recalls particular memories she had as a young girl growing up in the Polish Lodz ghetto. All the Jews were gathered together, forced to leave their homes, and live in very trying circumstances in the ghetto. Of the tens of thousands who lived there, only 800 survived until the end, and of that 800, only 12 were children. It is heartbreaking to read of the many families who were told that they were moving to work in another area, only to be sent to their deaths at concentration camps. The amazing circumstances that surround Sylvia's family, allowing them to escape certain death and deportment on multiple occasions, are nothing short of miraculous.  While much of the time spent was tedious and repetitive, certain memories vividly stand out in Sylvia's mind all these years later when her niece interviews her. Memories such as losing her favorite doll, a close friend, a hole dug in the cemetery where she hid at night from the Nazi guards, and certain songs are described in detail.

My opinion: I simply could not stop reading this story. It is very easy reading - more like poetry than a novel. I was completely drawn in to this family, and felt like I knew each of them well by the end of the book. Viewing life in the ghetto through the eyes of a young girl gave an amazing perspective on the reality of the circumstances. I laughed, cried, and cheered the family on throughout the story. I love that it is a real story with real people, and that at the end of the book, the author follows up by telling what each family member went on to do after the war's end. I was thrilled to know that some of the people in the book live in upstate New York now, which is near my home.

I would highly recommend this book as a living history addition to a middle school or high school study on the Holocaust. Students can read through the story and learn of real people who lived and triumphed through these trying times. It's a story that needs to be told. This book tells it in a way that even children can understand and parents can trust to not be too graphic or sensitive.

Price: If you would like to purchase the book the current prices are: $8.36 for Kindle (with Word Wise narration enabled and available) or $8.80 for a new paperback version.

{Please note - this post does contain Amazon affiliate links}  The opinions expressed here are completely my own. I did not receive any compensation for this review - it is provided as a service to my fellow home schoolers.

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1 comment:

  1. Adding this to our list. We've become history fans too...


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