We Are Their Voice: Young People Respond to the Holocaust

We Are Their Voice: Young People Respond to the Holocaust

by Kathy Kacer
     
 

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Do young people today find meaning in the Holocaust? That’s the question that prompted a writing project across North America, Italy, and Australia asking young people to share their ideas about this time in history. Some students wrote short stories. Some discussed the impact of books they had read and wrote about the messages that they understood from these

Overview

Do young people today find meaning in the Holocaust? That’s the question that prompted a writing project across North America, Italy, and Australia asking young people to share their ideas about this time in history. Some students wrote short stories. Some discussed the impact of books they had read and wrote about the messages that they understood from these books. Several interviewed survivors and recorded their impressions. Many talked about how they have tried to make sense of this history in the world in which they now live. Others created works of art. Children wrote from their hearts with sensitivity, thoughtfulness, and great insight. Their teachers saw this opportunity as a gift, and it proves to all that young people can make a meaningful connection to the Holocaust. Their contributions give hope for a more peaceful and tolerant future, as in this excerpt from one grade 8 student’s letter to Otto Frank, after visiting the Anne Frank house: “I cannot imagine what it would have been like for you and your family not to stand on green grass or smell fresh air – not to do the simple things that I take for granted. … I am writing you this letter now, not because my teacher, mother, friends, or family told me to, but because my heart did. … You were able to live the unimaginable and then move forward. For that I would like to say thank you.”

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
This volume is a compilation of student entries in which young writers examine the meaning of the Holocaust. The submissions—essays, journal and diary entries, artwork, and poems—are primarily written by Canadian students. The writing's quality varies from excellent to pedestrian. The mission, to bring an awareness of the seventy-year-old Shoah and its victims, is worthy and the book should be considered in that light. Most students created stories that imagined a character as a prisoner, hidden child, or person on the run from the Nazis. These are the least successful pieces. The diary entries are, of course, influenced by Anne Frank and, while no one addresses the journal as "Kitty," it is clear where the geneses of these pieces are. The "original" stories are clearly adolescent imaginings. One diary entry, supposedly written in a concentration camp, misses the point that there would be no paper or pen to keep an extensive camp diary, and the writer would be murdered for his efforts. The most successful writing is done by children who have grandparents who are survivors and, perhaps, these are also the most important works in the book. The "generation to generation" nature of grandchildren telling the real survivors' stories is the very meaning of being the "voice" for the victims. Another noteworthy piece, entitled If Only, is a letter to Anne Frank in which the eighth grade author explains that, despite Anne's optimism, little has changed in the world and people still hate and kill based on difference. The principle value of this book will be as an example for classroom projects. The letter to Anne Frank is a discussion starter. However, for young people to really understand the Holocaust, they need to return to testimonies and well-researched books. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Useful to both students and educators alike, this volume is a compilation of present-day students' responses to the Holocaust. It includes imagined diary entries, reflections on archival photographs, artwork by students, letters to relevant figures such as Anne Frank, and, finally, the retelling of stories told by Holocaust survivors. These original student works are organized by topic, such as Hope. Each chapter is framed by an informative introduction that delivers context while also providing factual anecdotes. At times, the students' writings become historically impossible, but excellent editing points out the anachronisms and allows the synthesis of the time to be interesting rather than distracting. Finally, a glossary and reference list are easily accessible and provide fluid recommendations for further reading. This is an innovative way to have young people process and respond to historical events.—Maura Bisogni, Pratt Institute, New York City

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781926920986
Publisher:
Second Story Press
Publication date:
09/15/2012
Series:
Holocaust Remembrance Series for Young Readers , #12
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
232
File size:
7 MB
Age Range:
9 - 13 Years

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Meet the Author

Kathy Kacer travels widely talking about the importance of remembering the Holocaust and how to talk about it with young people. She has written many award-winning books in the Holocaust Remembrance Series and her books are being sold in more than 20 countries. She embarked on this project with educators Karen Krasny, Alan Gotlib, Susan Gordin, and Shawntelle Nesbitt because they wanted to prove that young people do feel a meaningful connection to the Holocaust.

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