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Holocaust stories for children

Well-told stories have educated children about the horrors of the Holocaust for over 50 years. Some of the most memorable…

By Tracy Fuller , in Culture , on October 25, 2007

Well-told stories have educated children about the horrors of the Holocaust for over 50 years. Some of the most memorable texts are listed below.

Hana’s Suitcase
by Karen Levine
The story that inspired the play, Hana’s Suitcase follows Fumiko Ishioka, curator of the Tokyo Holocaust Education Centre, as she journeys across continents and cultures to discover the history behind Hana Brady’s small brown suitcase. Surprising and inspirational, Levine’s story has won more awards than any other Canadian children’s book published in the past 30 years.

The Diary of Anne Frank
by Anne Frank
Since its publication in 1946, the diary of the Dutch Jewish girl has reached millions of people around the world. The account follows Anne’s forced graduation from adolescence to maturity, detailing every emotion, every insecurity, every outrage and every question that crosses her mind as her freedoms are taken and she is forced into hiding.

Maus and Maus II
by Art Speigelman
Winner of a Pulitzer Prize in 1992, this graphic novel illustrates the survival story of Speigelman’s parents, told from the perspective of his Polish Jewish father, who miraculously survived the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Depicting Germans as cats and Jews as mice, Spiegelman’s uncomplicated images are brutally honest and utterly engrossing.

Number the Stars
by Lois Lowry
Winner of the 1990 John Newbery Medal, this heroic story reveals the courage and compassion of the Danish people who quietly evacuated 7,000 Jews from Denmark, saving them from the Nazi death camps. Told from the perspective of 10 year-old Annemarie Johannesen, the story follows the young girl’s family as they smuggle their daughter’s best friend to safety at the height of the German occupation.

The Old Brown Suitcase
by Lillian Boraks-Nemetz
Winner of the 1995 Sheila A. Egoff British Columbia Book Prize, this story follows 14 year-old Slava Lenski as she begins a new life in Montreal after fleeing the European Holocaust. The book juxtaposes Slava’s horrible memories with her struggles adapting to life in Canada. The story is based on the author’s life experience, which is being shared with audiences this week.


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