The best books about youth during the Holocaust

Kathy Clark Author Of Ivan's Choice
By Kathy Clark

The Books I Picked & Why

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

By B.M. Mooyaart, Anne Frank

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Why this book?

Though my preference tends to be for works of fiction, I love this Holocaust classic which, being a diary, draws the reader immediately into the life of 13 year old Anne. It is a highly captivating book, intimately sharing the thoughts, feelings, hopes and fears of this young girl on the verge of adulthood. It also has a fair bit of drama as she tells of the interactions between the other people in hiding with her and their constant fear of discovery.

I find that it is especially pertinent in the present time, when because of the Covid 19 restrictions we can all relate to how it feels to be separated from friends, family and the normal activities of everyday life. Anne’s hopeful attitude and means of coping is an inspiring example.


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I Am David

By Anne Holm, L. W. Kingsland

I Am David

Why this book?

I Am David is a unique story about a boy born in a concentration camp whose only experience of life is one of hardship and cruelty. Aside from his mother, he has known no kindness from people. When he is suddenly thrust into the free world all alone, he is scared of everyone and doesn’t know how to survive. Together with David, the reader is taken on an extraordinary journey of discovery of the goodness of life and love.


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After the War

By Carol Matas

After the War

Why this book?

I like this book because it shows in an exciting and engaging way, that a war is not over, just because it is declared to be over. For many survivors, such as Ruth Mendenberg, it is the beginning of a new war in which they fight to re-establish their identity and their right to a place to call home once again.


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The Book Thief

By Markus Zusak

The Book Thief

Why this book?

I recommend this book because it is a very engaging story of many different aspects of people's experiences during WW2. It leads the reader to feel the confusion and horror of the reality of the war through the eyes of young Liesel, the 'book thief'. Through her we see and experience how the war impacts both the lives of the persecuted Jews as well as those of the people trying to protect them and also those willfully ignoring what is going on. This book is not only informative and exciting, but also introduces readers to the realm of wonders that books can inspire in their own lives.


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The Diary of Laura's Twin

By Kathy Kacer

The Diary of Laura's Twin

Why this book?

This story effectively unites the present with the past. Two girls anticipate their Bat Mitzvah in very different circumstances. Laura learns to appreciate the freedoms she has to make her own choices through the past life of a girl the same age as her but facing severe limitations. It is a thought-provoking book for young teens.


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