Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Yellow Star: The Legend of King Christian X of Denmark

This is a lovely children's book, written by Carmen Agra Deedy and illustrated by Henri Sorensen. Deedy tells the story of King Christian X of Denmark who was instumental in protecting the majority of the Danish Jews during World War II. The story of the yellow star begins with the Nazi edict that all Jews must wear the star. The Danes considered themselves all Danish, not separated by religion or culture. They knew that in other parts of Europe Jews who wore the yellow star often disappeared and did not return. According to Deedy's book, the King wondered how to hide the stars.

"If you wished to hide a star," wondered the king to himself, "where would you place it?" His eyes searched the heavens. "Of course!" he thought. The answer was so simple. "You would hide it among its sisters." (p. n/a)

You can of course guess what his idea was - if everyone one, Jews and non-Jews, including the King wore the yellow star, how could the Nazis decide which people to take away? In a short author's note at the end of the book, the author tells us that this story of King Christian X is a legend which she has been unable to authenticate. Finally, the author asks us:

What if it had happened? What if every Dane, from shoemaker to priest, had worn the yellow Star of David? And what if we could follow that example today against violations of human rights? What if the good and strong people of the world stood shoulder to shoulder, crowding the streets and filling the squares, saying, "You cannot do this injustice to our sisters and brothers, or you must do it to us as well."

What if? (pp. n/a)

Peachtree Publishers provides a wonderful collection of resources for teaching using this book. You can access the pdf version of the resource here. The Holocaust Teacher Resource Center offers a good lesson plan for this short book and other books as well. You might like to check this out if you a planning a lesson. The book has won numerous awards and is an Accelerated Reader Level 3.7 book for children.

TITLE: The Yellow Star: The Legend of King Christian X of Denmark
AUTHOR: Carmen Agra Deedy
TYPE: Holocaust fiction
RECOMMEND: Excellent book

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