From Elaine Pasquali
Title: Maus: A Survivor’s Tale
Author: Art Spiegelman
I have reread this book many times and each time it’s riveting. The comic strip format with it’s symbolic, allegorical characters provides an historical narrative of the holocaust, speaks to Spiegelman’s relationship with his father, and describes his own mental breakdown. A totally different approach to history and a must-read book.
From Ginny Pisciotta
Author: J.L. Witterick
Title: My Mother’s Secret
My mother’s secret is a gripping story of a Polish woman and her daughter during the Nazi invasion of Poland. Franciszka and her daughter, Helena, live in a tiny 2 room house but somehow manage to simultaneously hide 2 Jewish families, and a defecting German soldier. One family is hidden in the loft above the pigsty,the other in a makeshift cellar,and the soldier in a tiny attic where he must lay down to fit. Franciszka and Helena need to be extremely careful and clever to outsmart their neighbors and the Germans. One mistake or misfortune would cost all of them their lives.
The writing is simple and concise. The chapters are very short. The story is told from 4 perspectives – Helena’s, one of the Jewish fathers, one of the Jewish sons, and the defecting soldier. The account was both horrifying because of the circumstances and the cruelty of some people, and heartwarming because of the kindness and bravery of others.
This novel is based on a true story.
From Sandi Rosenthal
Title: The Story Teller
Author: Jodi Picoult
I have read a few of Jodi Picoult’s books and I am a fan of hers, but not of her latest book, The Story Teller. As in her other novels, The Story Teller is narrated by different voices, Sage, a girl who works in a bakery, Minka, Sage’s grandmother and concentration camp survivor, Josef, an ex Nazi, and others.
The book is well written and the author tells a story that needs to be heard, but I found Minka’s continuous sufferings in the Warsaw ghetto and at Auschwitz so heart wrenching that I nearly stopped reading. I nearly stopped reading after Josef’s passage on how he became an SS officer and the descriptions of his killing of thousands of Jews. But I kept reading hoping there would be a good twist; as Jodi Picoult often has in many of her other books. After painfully getting through the book, I found the ending very disappointing.
From Carson Teen Book Reviewer
Author: Ilsa Bick
Draw the dark
This book is about a seventeen year old boy named Christian Cage. Both of Christian’s parents disappeared when he was little. Due to Christian having no mother or father, he got to live with Uncle Hank, the town Sheriff. Christian’s mother left clues behind for him. These clues led to Christian’s development of the idea that his parents are trapped in a place called “the sideways place.” In school, Christian Cage is considered to be an outsider who doesn’t fit in with the rest because people believe that he caused the near death of his first-grade teacher years earlier. Christian spends extremely great amounts of time drawing images of the sideways place. In the beginning of the story, he discovers that in his sleep he has painted the official emblem of the Nazi Party on a prominent citizen’s barn. After that, he begins to have nightmares. In his nightmares, he sees violent incidents from the past from the perspective of a young Jewish boy. This scares Christian, so he researches Winter’s history for an explanation, and there are World War II-era events involving a camp for German prisoners of war. Christian also researches and tries to find out about how he is able to draw the thoughts and nightmares of those around him. With Christian in Winter, Wisconsin, the town will not be able to ignore or forget what actually happened where they live. I’d recommend this book to people who like reading books that are mysterious, intense, and creepy. The whole idea of this book is so unique that it will be one memorable book. However, I would not recommend this book to little kids because the writing style can be random at times and hard for some people to get through.
From Susan Martin
author: de Rosnay, Tatiana
This is a very moving story about a part of World War II history which is unknown to many. The Vel d’Hiv in France showed the part played by the French during this time. Sarah and her family are arrested by the French police, and years later, another character and her family have become intertwined with Sarah’s past, which changes their future.
From Gina Cortina
author: Rosnay, Tatiana de
I can honestly say this has become my new favorite book. I have always loved reading books about the holocaust. I find it amazing and shocking how Jews were treated. In this heart wrenching story, we see just how horrid the French police were during the ’round-up’ in 1942. Sarah’s will make you cry, but her bravery will make you see just how determined she was too.
From Judy Schroback
author: Orringer, Julie
The Invisible Bridge
This book takes place during World War 2 and follows the lives of several characters. It specifically focuses on Hungary and how badly damaged it was during the war. This author does a great job getting us to feel the characters and their constant conflicts. While trying to live somewhat normal lives in their beloved Hungary or partly in France, we are with them every step of the way. The brutality to the Jews is also written with so much heart that you can only wish the outcomes were different. I loved this book.
From Elaine Pasquali
author: Spiegelman, Art
Maus: A Survivor’s Tale
I have read this allegorical book many times. Spiegelman takes a journey of understanding about the holocaust, and specifically his parents’ holocaust experience, and uses anthropomorphic animal characters to relate this journey. Because of its comic book style, Maus has been both lauded and vilified. Does this style make Maus more effective or is it irreverant? Readers must come to their own conclusions, but it is a “don’t miss” read.
From Max, Teen Book Reviewer
author: Gleitzman, Morris
This book is about a young boy named Felix whose parents are Jewish booksellers. This book takes place during the time of the Nazis, so to protect Felix, his parents leave him in a Christian orphanage. Felix’s first encounter with the Nazis was at the orphanage. He saw them burning Jewish books outside the orphanage. He thinks that all the Nazis are doing is burning books, which is very serious to him. He later escapes from the orphanage and goes on a quest to find and warn his parents about the Nazis. On the way he matures; saves a girl from a burning house, finds out what the Nazis are actually doing, and gets caught. During the journey one of the only things keeping Felix going are his exaggerated stories about his parents, which help him believe that they’re still out there. Throughout the whole journey he has to use his creativity to get out of bad situations. This book is definitely worth reading.
From Nicole Marsh
author: Wiesel, Elie
Night, written by Elie Wiesel is an autobiographical account of his life during the Holocaust. The novel is a short read with easy to understand wording. Wiesel gives a very vivid account of the heinous and unimaginable acts of cruelty committed by the Nazi’s. It shows the dehumanization of a population and how easy it is to lose faith and to question God. It made me feel physically sick when I read about the beatings, crematorium, Dr. Mengele’s medical practices, hangings, Death March and hunger.
Every person should read this novel as it is an important lesson to be learned….”we shall never forget.” It is a lesson to future generations that we must be respectful and tolerant of all mankind and these events shall never occur again.