Sunday, March 7, 2010

Thanks to My Mother

Thanks to My Mother by Schoschana Rabinovici (translated from the German by James Skofield) is startling in its brutality. The book is narrated by a young Jewish girl, Susie Weksler. Susie was only eight years old when the Nazis came to her city of Vilnius, Lithuania. It is interesting that the perspective provided is from Susie's young eyes. The fact that we have a very young narrator (who wrote the book after the fact) makes the narrative even more compelling - I wondered throughout how such a young girl could have coped with the events she describes in great detail. I know that having her mother with her, to protect her and encourage her were key. The two were first moved into a ghetto, then to labor camps. Raja, Susie's mother, who had disguised Susie to look much older, worked hard to ensure that Susie had extra food and clothing. In the midst of cruelty and murder, Raja also found ways to help the other women in the camps. At the end, only Raja, Susie, and one other family member survived the Holocaust.
I was unable to locate any specific lesson plans for this title. I suspect the detailed horrors will be difficult for some children, so it might be best for it to be an individual read. If you locate any teaching materials to go with this work, please include a link in your comments.
TITLE: Thanks to My Mother
AUTHOR: Schoschana Rabinovici (translated from the German by James Skofield)
PAGES: 246
TYPE: non-fiction, Holocaust narrative
RECOMMEND: A very brutal account of one Jewish family and their experiences during the Holocaust. This book covers the horrors of the ghettos, camps, and marches.
AWARDS: 1999 Batchelder Award winner

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