Thursday, December 18, 2008

Four Perfect Pebbles

Four Perfect Pebbles: A Holocaust Story
Lila Perl and Marion Blumenthal Lazan

This is the story of Marion Blumenthal whose Jewish family fled from Germany during WWII. While waiting for immigration to the United States, the family was held at Westerbork, Auschwitz, sent on the death train, finally rescued, and spent time in a refuge camp. Marion was only 4 when this nightmare began. She hoped that her magical thinking about always finding four perfect pebbles, which represented her family members, would keep them safe. This book is intended for middle school readers and would serve as an excellent Holocaust narrative if students want to read beyond some of the classics.The author maintains her website at Four Perfect Pebbles.

TITLE: Four Perfet Pebbles
AUTHOR: Lila Perl and Marion Blumenthal Lazan
PAGES: 130
TYPE: non-fiction, autobiographical Holocaust narrative
AWARDS: "Best of the Bunch" Sydney Taylor Award Committee/Association of Jewish Librarians

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Memories of Anne Frank: Reflection of a Childhood Friend

I have been to Amsterdam. I have walked from the center of town, along the canals, to visit the house where Anne Frank and her family hid. I walked through the small spaces and stood in front of Anne’s diary. It was a humbling and emotional moment. It brought the book Diary of a Young Girl to life; intensified the feelings I remembered from multiple readings of this classic Holocaust biography.

But Reflections of a Childhood Friend is more than the story of Anne Frank, it is the story of Hannah Goslar who was friends with Anne from age four until Anne died shortly after being reunited with Hannah in Bergen-Belsen. It was not until after the war that Hannah realized that Anne had not lived but had died shortly before the camp was liberated. I am grateful to Hannah for telling her story and for Alison Gold for recording it in a way that young people can read and appreciate.

Hannah’s story is equally compelling as she was separated from her family with only her younger sister to care for as they were “relocated” from Amsterdam to Westerbork to Bergen-Belsen. The courage of these women who were but young girls is inspiring and through Hannah’s memories, readers will gain a greater understanding of the hardships which were endured and the friendships which were held so close.

TITLE: Memories of Anne Frank: Reflections of a Childhood Friend
AUTHOR: Alison Leslie Gold
PAGES: 135
TYPE: non-fiction
RECOMMEND: I found this book, with photographs, to add to the Anne Frank story, as well as introducing me to another survivor.