Thursday, June 10, 2010

Benno and the Night of Broken Glass

In Benno and the Night of Broken Glass, a children's book perfect for introducing the Holocaust, author Meg Wiviott introduces the reader to Number 5 Rosenstrasse in Berlin. The year is 1938 and Benno, an orange and white cat, lives on this street with families and businesses owned by both Germans and Jews. Benno visits each of the families and watches as the children play together. But suddenly Benno notices changes. The little Jewish girl walks to school alone. Some of the businesses are no longer open. And men with big boots walk through the street. But worst of all is the Night of Broken Glass with the men with brown shirts and boots broke the glass in many of the stores and set fire to the synagogue down the street. Benno notices that some stores and homes are not harmed. The next morning he waits for the little Jewish girl to go to school. Benno never see her again. Benno still sleeps at Number 5 Rosenstrasse, but
But life on Rosenstrasse would never be the same. (n.p.)

The author provides historical context in an afterword which is helpful for teachers who would like to use the book in the classroom. Or useful even for older students who are researching the subject.

TITLE: Benno and the Night of Broken Glass
AUTHOR: Meg Wiviott
ILLUSTRATOR: Josee Bisaillon
TYPE: Holocaust fiction
RECOMMEND: This is a very thoughtful and personalized (through Benno) account of Kristallnacht.

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