This post was originally published on the former Worrisome Words site on August 11, 2017
The holocaust comes up again and and again in classroom teaching; so much so, in fact, that it can sometimes be a struggle to find fiction that makes the topic feel fresh, exciting, and relevant again. In remedy to that problem, here is a list of some of my absolute favorites: these texts have proved to be winners with students as well as teachers, offering fresh new perspectives and in-depth explorations that are great for stimulating discussion.
Marcus Zusak. The Book Thief. Alfred A. Knopf, 2007. “Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement” (From Amazon Product Page).
Judith Kerr. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit. Puffin Books, 2009. “Anna is not sure who Hitler is, but she sees his face on posters all over Berlin. Then one morning, Anna and her brother awake to find her father gone! Her mother explains that their father has had to leave and soon they will secretly join him. Anna just doesn’t understand. Why do their parents keep insisting that Germany is no longer safe for Jews like them?” (From Amazon Product Page).
Kathrine Kressman Taylor. Address Unknown. Souvenir Press Ltd., 2002. “This thought provoking and poignant story was written on the eve of the Holocaust as a series of letters between an American Jew living in San Francisco and his former business partner and friend who returned to his native Germany. Address Unknown caused a sensation when it was first published in 1938 by exposing early on the poison of Nazism. The significant and timeless message of Address Unknown speaks to our moral conscience and survives as a searing reminder that history can repeat itself” (From Amazon Product Page).
Morris Gleitzman. Once. Square Fish, 2013. “Felix, a Jewish boy in Poland in 1942, is hiding from the Nazis in a Catholic orphanage. The only problem is that he doesn’t know anything about the war, and thinks he’s only in the orphanage while his parents travel and try to salvage their bookselling business. And when he thinks his parents are in danger, Felix sets off to warn them–straight into the heart of Nazi-occupied Poland” (From Amazon Product Page).
Olga Levy Drucker. Kindertransport. Henry Holt & Co., 1995. “The powerful autobiographical account of a young girls’ struggle as a Jewish refugee in England from 1939-1945” (From Amazon Product Page).
Jen is an Instructor of English at East Stroudsburg University. Views and opinions expressed here are her own, and not those of the University or any other organization.