As some of you may know, I make a living teaching elementary school children. Any teacher will tell you that there are a handful of topics that make them shudder at the thought of trying to explain them to a group of 30 impressionable minds. For me, the holocaust is near the top of the list. Rarely have I written about my experiences teaching here on crosscountryreading. Though, after reading Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy, I have found myself thinking about all the great ways this book can be useful in the classroom.
Yellow Star tells the story of young Syvia, one of the twelve children who survives the holocaust while living in the Lodz Ghetto. Syvia’s (later known as Sylvia) story is retold in the first person through a series of poems and verses. Jennifer Roy, Sylvia’s niece, captures the world of the Lodz Ghetto as seen through the eyes of a child with grace and elegance.
Even though I found Yellow Star nestled safely in the fiction section of my local library, I found the book to be informative and historically accurate. Each of the book’s five parts begins with a short synopsis of the events of the holocaust and WWII which will affect the story line. I found those short prologues for each part to be a great source of quick facts as well as an effective way to ground the reader before the highly emotional scenes which follow.
Yellow Star is beautifully told in verse, sure to pull anyone’s heart-strings. Though the facts are by no means sugar-coated, the book ends on a note of hope, making it a great step into the topic of the holocaust for young readers. I recommend Yellow Star to teachers, history enthusiasts, and all readers aged 7+.
Posted by: Janine Reads