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Topic: Teaching about the Holocaust...?

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Subject: Teaching about the Holocaust...?
Date Posted: 5/6/2008 11:18 AM ET
Member Since: 1/13/2008
Posts: 5
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My son has a lot of questions about the holocaust and also about Nazi Germany and Hitler. I don't know where his interest in this subject came from, but I want to educate him in an appropriate way.

Does anyone have any suggestions for books that can help us better discuss the subject?  He is almost 11 years old, and quite mature. Still, I am afraid to expose him too much to some of the really horrible parts of that history.

Thoughts, suggestions?

Thank you so much :)

Date Posted: 5/6/2008 5:45 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2008
Posts: 299
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A book that I really thought was thought provoking was called "Fireflies in the Dark." It is about a women who snuck in paint supplies into the camp and taught art lessons to the children. Years later they found a suitcase of pictures that the children had painted. It's a pretty amazing book! Also, "Maus" is a comic book  that demonstrates the prejudice that the Nazi and polish people felt for the Jews. The book is actually the life story of the author's mom and dad.



Also, another book that may be good is called

Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow by Susan Campbell Bartoletti (Author)

Last Edited on: 5/6/08 5:50 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/9/2008 12:04 AM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2007
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I would highly recommend The Devil's Arithmetic.

Date Posted: 5/9/2008 9:59 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2008
Posts: 299
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Oh yeah! "The Devils Arithmetic" is SO GOOD!!!!

Subject: Holocaust books
Date Posted: 5/11/2008 9:30 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2006
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All our 5th graders read Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.  Was it a Newbery winner?  Great book; I read it when my daughters were in 5th grade.

Date Posted: 5/11/2008 10:24 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2007
Posts: 48
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I agree with Number the Stars. Our Special Ed 7th graders are reading it, so your son, at 11 should be able to handle it.  It is a very good book.

Once he hits eighth grade or high school, you can try Night by Elie Weisel. It is the disturbing reality of the Haloucaust as written by a survivor.  We read it in eighth grade but you really have to be mature for that one, we read it again in a college class.


Date Posted: 5/12/2008 9:51 PM ET
Member Since: 1/13/2008
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thank you!

you know, they're right, teachers are awesome :))

Subject: paperclips
Date Posted: 5/14/2008 2:02 AM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2007
Posts: 1
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book and documetary it is awesome, the movie is an instant view on netflicks and their is a book that goes with it. I know my child's middle school used it after HBO ran it for a few months it is really moving!

Date Posted: 6/29/2008 5:10 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2008
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I don't know if this is too difficult because it was assigned one year to our 9th graders.  It was good, but I don't remember the reading difficulty level.  Maybe it could be read as a family?

Golabek, Mona and Lee Cohen. "The Children of Willesden Lane." an account of a young Jewish girl who escaped the Nazis by the Kindertransport.

also: "Number the Stars" by Lowry was fabulous!

Last Edited on: 6/29/08 5:12 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/29/2008 8:55 PM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
Posts: 1,534
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"I Never Saw Another Butterfly"

Date Posted: 6/30/2008 1:27 PM ET
Member Since: 9/8/2006
Posts: 31
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Have you tried logging on to the Holocaust Museum website, which is part of the Smithsonian complex in Washington DC?  My guess is they would be able to help you with age-appropriate materials that are non-fiction if he is more interested in that type of reading, which a lot of boys are.

Last Edited on: 6/30/08 1:28 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/1/2008 7:47 PM ET
Member Since: 9/29/2007
Posts: 174
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Oh, yeah... Maus I and II are good comic books... I actually had those for my college summer class on the Holocaust 10 years ago!  Unfortunately, I gave those (and several other books) away to Goodwill, etc. when I got married.  Only if I had kept them until now so I could post them on pbswap!!  Shoot. 

Date Posted: 7/10/2008 4:14 PM ET
Member Since: 3/3/2006
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A good book about how something like the Holocaust could happen is called "The Wave" I think it's by Todd Strasser. My mom uses it with her 7th graders, and they always are amazed.

Subject: devils arithmetic
Date Posted: 7/17/2008 1:40 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2008
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I have a copy of Devil's Arithmetic and I also have a harcover copy Corrie Ten Boom's Hiding Place ( Holocaust Survivor) , if you are interested.  And yes, Night is a fascinating book, I cannot part with it though.

Last Edited on: 7/25/08 1:45 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/18/2008 10:34 AM ET
Member Since: 11/21/2007
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I am not 100% sure if he is old enough for this book, but has he read The Diary of Anne Frank?  He may want to read it when he is a bit older.

Date Posted: 7/19/2008 7:52 PM ET
Member Since: 6/14/2006
Posts: 6
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There are loads of books that are  on his level. 


Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli reading level 3.8 in AR

The boy in the striped pajamas by John Boyne reading level 5.8 in AR


Here is a website that gives more books for you to consider





Date Posted: 7/25/2008 7:57 AM ET
Member Since: 11/12/2007
Posts: 263
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I wanted to say thanks for this post. I am getting ready to put together a unit for my son on WWII and the books suggestions are very helpful. Michele

Date Posted: 7/27/2008 12:08 AM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2008
Posts: 32
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I adore  the Maus graphic novels (they are graphic novels not comic books).  I always make sure I have a copy in my classroom library.  This summer I went to the Holocaust Museum in Washington.  It was intense.  I know that they have a website with lots of information.  I would say it can be a great resourse for you.  Also, you may be interesting in checking out the Shoah Foundation (http://college.usc.edu/vhi/).  It has online testimonies of people who lived the experience as well as eduationals items.

Date Posted: 8/1/2008 12:35 PM ET
Member Since: 6/17/2008
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I just noticed this post... a good movie to watch about WWII in general, to show a different side of things is a documentary on Sugihara.  He was a Japanese diplomat who defied his government (and naturally shamed because of it) but in the beginning of the "Final Solution" he wrote thousands of visas which granted access for Jews into Japan.  It is an amazing story.

A book specifically about the holocaust that I would recommend (though this might a bit old for him.. so perhaps in another year or two) is Eli Wiesel.  It is descriptive but not overly so.  It is also a very quick read.. my friends parents gave it to her brother (13 at the time) to learn about the Holocaust.

Date Posted: 8/23/2008 2:55 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2008
Posts: 818
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A great book discussing this topic is Behind the Bedroom Wall, although it may be a little too old. If not, however, this book is very clean while still helpign children understand how horrible World War II really was. It is told from the point of few of a young German girl who is commited to the Nazi's until she discovers her parents are hiding a huge secret. WONDERFUL BOOK!

Date Posted: 8/23/2008 9:17 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2006
Posts: 181
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See if your library has a copy of the DVD "Paper Clips". It is about school kids who collected a paper clip for each person killed by the Nazi regime. It is very moving.

I think this is a very heavy topic that needs discussion no matter what book or source you choose to use with it. And in this topic more information may not be better. I mean by that, perhaps answer the questions and try to not go super deep. This is such an emotional topic and shows the worst element of humanity, in my opinion, and is a lot for a child to handle.

Date Posted: 8/24/2008 1:05 AM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2008
Posts: 11
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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas introduces children to the topic without getting into the nitty gritty details of the tortures and starvation.  It hints and insinuates.  The story is from the perspective of a nine-year old boy who just doesn't understand what is happening on the other side of the fence ( he lives at "Out With", as he calls it.  His father is the head of the camp).  While it is recommended for high school, I read it to my 8th graders and they really got into it.  My 12-year old daughter has read it too.

Last Edited on: 8/24/08 1:06 AM ET - Total times edited: 2