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Holocaust Memorial Day - A booklist for young people

Rose Blanche by Ian McEwan

Picture Books

Rose Blanche - Ian McEwan and Roberto Innocenti
A young girl sees a little boy try to escape from soldiers. She follows the truck he has been pushed into to a stark place surrounded by barbed wire. Secretly she brings food to the hungry children behind the fence. The title of the book is named after a group of young German students who risked their lives to challenge the Nazi regime.

In My Pocket - Dorith Sim
A picture book describing the journey made by Jewish children from Germany to the United Kingdom before World War II began.

Eli Remembers - Marian Sneider, Ruth Vander Zee and Bill Farnsworth
Young Eli doesn't understand why his family become sad during their supposedly joyful Rosh Hashanah celebrations and light seven candles. The reason becomes clear during a family visit to Lithuania, when they place a bunch of seven red roses in a pit in the Ponar Forest. It marks the grave of 80,000 Jews, slaughtered by the Nazis, including seven members of Eli's family. A simply told and beautifully illustrated picture book suitable for older readers..

Erika's Story - Ruth Vander Zee
An unusual and arresting picture book which tells the story of how a baby is thrown from a train bound for the death camps by a mother determined to give her baby the chance of life.

Fiction

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas - John Boyne

It's 1942 and nine year old Bruno's father is promoted to a new job. The family move from Berlin to a house far away in desolate countryside with no one to play with. But behind a tall fence Bruno can see strange people. When he decides to explore he meets another boy in very different circumstances to his own.

Daniel Half Human - David Chotjewitz
Two teenage friends from very different backgrounds are living in 1930s Hamburg. Daniel is from a wealthy privileged family, Armin is poor, but very bright and desperate to escape from the poverty he was born into. Joining the Hitler Youth is initially a good way for them both to be rebellious teenagers with both sets of parents disapproving. Then things begin to change when anti Semitism becomes a growing force at school and Daniels mother reveals a shocking truth.

Tunes for Bears to Dance To - Robert Cormier
Henry's family are struggling financially and Henry has a job in Mr. Hairston's store. Henry doesn't like Mr. Hairston much he bullies his family and is racist. But a job is a job. When he tries to blackmail Henry into destroying the model village that Mr. Levine a traumatised Holocaust survivor is making as therapy, Henry has a hard decision to make.

Between Two Seasons of Happiness - Irene Dische
A tale of letters, love and separation of Peter and his father, culminating in Peter discovering the truth behind his father's absence.

Once - Maurice Gleitzman
Felix lives in an orphanage, but unlike the other children, he believes his Jewish bookseller parents are still alive. A long and dangerous journey through occupied Poland takes him to kind dentist Barney, who looks after Jewish children. But when the Nazis arrive, Barney has to face making the ultimate sacrifice.

I am David - Anne Holm
David has escaped from the prison camp following the instructions of the camp commandant. He has been told to stow away in a boat for Italy and then make his way north to Norway. The world outside is puzzling to a boy who only remembers the camp.

Dreaming in Black and White - Reinhardt Jung
Hannes dreams about a life in 1930s Germany where he is picked on by his class mates because he is disabled and later is selected to be sent to a hospital as part of the programme to remove disabled people from society.

Shadow of the Wall - Christa Laird
Misha survives in the Warsaw ghetto. He and his two younger sisters live in the orphanage run by Dr. Korezak and Misha sells things to buy food for his mother who is ill and living nearby. They are all under constant threat of being 'relocated' to a concentration camp.

Beyond the Wall (originally published as 'But Can the Phoenix Sing?') - Christa Laird
Tells Misha's adventures after he has escaped through the sewers from the ghetto in Warsaw through his letters to his step-son many years later.

Number the Stars - Lois Lowry
Annemarie's best friend is Jewish. As life becomes more dangerous for Jewish people in Nazi-occupied Denmark what will Annemarie do to help her friend?

Sisterland - Linda Newbery
Sarah Reubens was sent to a family in Northampton with the Kindertransport. She has grown into the family grandmother Heidigran who has concealed her Jewish identity completely. Why? The fate of her older sister Rachel who was left behind in Berlin and of her mother and father is gradually revealed and Hilly, her grand-daughter finds she has her own conflicts to address.

The Final Journey - Gudrun Pausewang
Alice is twelve and has been hiding with her family in a basement for two years. Now they have been discovered, loaded onto a train and are on their way to an unknown destination.

Malka - Mirjam Pressler
As the youngest child Malka does not understand what is happening. Her mother is a Jew. Her mother is also a doctor who is valued by their local community. Why do they suddenly have to flee their village and try to get over the border to Hungary?

Friedrich - Hans Richter
A story about two friends in Hitler's Germany one is a German boy and one is a German boy who is also a Jew. The story is unusual because it is narrated by the non-Jewish character.

The Silver Sword - Ian Serrailler
The story of how one family experience the war in Poland, of how the three children are parted from their parents and how a silver paperknife entrusted to a street boy called Jan becomes a symbol of hope for the future.

Maus: a survivors tale - Art Spiegelman
A Graphic Novel which tells of how the experiences of the camp survivors affect the rest of their lives and the next generation.

Milkweed - Jerry Spinelli
A little boy with no name he calls himself top thief is adopted by a gang of Jewish street boys and named Misha. Then the Jackboots come and take over Warsaw.

Last Train from Kummersdorf - Leslie Wilson
Germany, 1945. Effi, a teenage girl, and Hanno, a young deserting soldier are fleeing across war ravaged Germany. Many other people are on the road too and no one knows who is who and who can be trusted. The country is in complete chaos with morals abandoned in the desperate struggle for survival. A deeply moving and sometimes shocking book which gives an understanding of something still with us today: the plight of refugees.

The Devil Arithmetic - Jane Yolen
A time travel story. Hannah is celebrating Passover with her family and suddenly finds herself in a Polish shelter in 1942 just before soldiers come to resettle them. Even her knowledge of what is to come does not help anyone to survive.

Plus a book which looks at what might have happened if the Nazis had invaded Britain - providing an opportunity to consider how each of us might have reacted.

In the Morning - Michael Cronin
Frank is a freedom fighter in a Britain occupied by the Nazis. Injured in an ambush, he is rescued by a young girl and taken to a big family mansion where he is kept locked up. But when he finds out that the family are collaborators, he realises the danger he is in.



Non-Fiction

A Picture book of Anne Frank - David A Adler
An illustrated account of the life of Anne Frank.

I Have Lived a Thousand Years - L Bitton-Jackson
The memoir of Elli Friedmann, a teenage girl who survived the German occupation of Hungary and the living hell of Auschwitz.

I Will Plant You a Lilac Tree - Laura Hillman
The true story of the life of Hannelore Wolff and her family, deported to a concentration camp in 1942. Amongst the horrors of camp life, Hannelore found love with Polish POW Dick Hillman. Separated after only a few months, Dick vowed to find Hannelore and through Oskar Schindler's list was able to keep his promise. A story of courage and hope which survived even the terrors of Auschwitz

Hana's Suitcase - Karen Levine
In March 2000, a suitcase arrived at a children's Holocaust education centre in Tokyo, Japan. Painted on the outside in white, were the words 'Hana Brady, May 16' and 'Waisenkind' - the German word for orphan. This is the true story of the quest to find out what happened to Hana.

Surviving Hitler: a harrowing true story - Andrea Warren
Jack Mandelbaum is fifteen. He has just arrived at a Nazi concentration camp. His family have vanished. How will he survive?

You can reserve books online through the Library Catalogue.

Poetry

Birmingham is lucky to have its own Young Poet Laureate. Three of our poets have written special pieces which they performed at the Birmingham Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration event which happens each January.

Poetry from our Young Poets Laureate
The Gravestone by Matt Windle, Young Poet Laureate 2007-2008
No. 193945 Final Solution of the Jewish Question by Jennifer Brough, Young Poet Laureate 2006-2007
My Brother by Helen Monks, Young Poet Laureate 2005-2006

Some of the adult Birmingham Poets Laureate have also written commemorative poems:

Poetry from the adult Birmingham Poets Laureate
Under the Same Sky by Charlie Jordan - Birmingham Poet Laureate 2007-2008
Menorah - a poem sequence by Don Barnard, Birmingham Poet Laureate 2004-2005
Holocaust Day 2002 by Roi Kwabena, Birmingham Poet Laureate 2001-2002


More Resources

Weblinks
Websites about the holocaust
Information on Holocaust Memorial Day

Books for adults
Recommended reading list for adults

Publisher permissions
Permission to use the above book cover has been kindly granted by the following publisher:
Rose Blanche by Ian McEwan and Roberto Innocenti. Published by the Random House Group. www.randomhouse.co.uk