Monday, June 30, 2014

The Secret Seder

The Secret Seder, by Doreen Rappaport, is a touching book based on real stories of events which we know happened during the Holocaust.  While this exact story did not happen, it allows children to think about what their religion means to them as they read about what it is like to have to hide your religion and customs from everyone.  In the story, a young boy and his father along with the rest of the family, pretend to be Catholic to hide from Hitler during the war years. The young boy and his father climb high into the mountains where they join other Jews in hiding to celebrate the Seder. The young boy has studied the Four Questions, and recites them when it is time.  But the older men ask new questions comparing their situation to the slaves who fled from Pharaoh. They finally finish the ceremony and hope they will celebrate the next Seder in Jerusalem.

The descriptive narrative provides an adequate picture of the foods which are eaten each Seder and there is a glossary that explains the meal in further detail.  A very simple lesson plan that looks at the Seder can be found here!  

TITLE:  The Secret Seder
AUTHOR:  Doreen Rappaport
TYPE: fiction, Holocaust narrative
RECOMMEND:  This book would be especially good for students familiar with the Jewish Seder, but certainly could be read by children in grades 2-4.

Anne Frank

Anne Frank, by Yona Zeldis McDonough and illustrated by Malcah Zeldis, is an introduction to the much beloved Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl. This simple text is meant for younger children, and can be used to start the conversation.

The book has a timeline and an author's note to put the story in perspective.  Without a specific lesson plan, at the younger grades, this book serves as an introduction to the Hololcaust.  In the higher grades, it may serve to pique the child's interest in reading the diary.

TITLE:  Anne Frank
AUTHOR:  Yona Zeldis McDonough and illustrated by Malcah Zeldis
TYPE: non-fiction, Holocaust narrative

RECOMMEND:  This book is perfect to introduce young readers to the Holocaust.