1. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
by John Boyne
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas won the Young Reader's Choice Award and is a work of historical fictional account from a Dublin, Ireland author, adds insight and depth into a subject of intense interest. The book is selected from the 2011 International Reading Association best books list and became the basis for the poignant 2008 film of the same name. www.reading.org
2. Number the Stars
by Lois Lowry
(Newbery Medal winner)
Don't let the cover fool you, Number the Stars is a heartwarming and exciting book recounting Nazi occupation in Denmark with a positive message for young people. It is a work of historical fiction which recounts the bravery and discreet actions of the Danes who saved their Jewish neighbors, helping them to escape to the safety of non-occupied, nearby Sweden. Relatively few Jews were captured by the Nazis as a result. This is a must-read for children ages eight through teenage years and shows what can be accomplished through neighbor love in the absence of physical resistance or rebellion.
3. Facing the Lion (Abridged Edition): Memoirs of a Young Girl in Nazi Europe
by Simone Arnold Liebster
A story of a little girl's courage and resoluteness in the face of Nazi opposition, her parents sent to concentration camps, pre-teen Simone is sent to a "reform school" where she can be taught the Nazi ideology. This story recounts a child's ideological triumph over Nazi oppression. It is a story of religious and moral integrity, and is suitable classroom reading for fourth grade through adult years.
Her husband Max Liebster, who was Jewish and a concentration camp survivor, wrote his moving personal story in the memoirCrucible of Terror: A Story of Survival Through the Nazi Storm
4. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
The Diary of Anne Frank is, of course, the most well-known children's Holocaust story. It is a rich personal account of a Jewish girl in Amsterdam that is usually a required part of U.S. grade school literature courses. If a child or teen does not have opportunity to read Anne Frank's work in school, parents would want their children to be exposed to this heart-touching story. Parents themselves benefit from reading the account as well.
These four books (above) provide a well-rounded biographical backdrop for understanding the emotions and reasons behind the suffering of millions during the Holocaust, and how it touched the lives of individual children, as well as our obligation to stand firm against atrocities committed in the name of persecution from the State or other forms of racial or religious persecution.
5. Hana's Suitcase - A True Story
by Karen Levine
A Holocaust true story which toggles between a Japanese teacher and her Holocaust Memorial Museum work in Japan with students, and a girl named Hana, who was a victim of the Holocaust, and who was eventually sent to Auschwitz.
This is, like many Holocaust stories is joyful-sad and bitter-sweet, the story of an 11-year-old-girl who was sent to Auschwitz. The book is exciting, heart-touching, well-written, suspenseful, and is both sad and joyful. It is highly recommended book for children (and adults), from third grade through ninth grade, and can also be enjoyed by older high school students and adults, though its main audience is children. The book is filled with pictures and is easy, fast-paced reading.
6. We Are Witnesses: Five Diaries Of Teenagers Who Died In The Holocaust
by Jacob Boas.
These are the compelling and moving diaries of five teenagers who died during the Holocaust. They tell their tragic, courageous stories. The book was selected from the Dover Public Library’s list of best books for children and teens. https://www.dover.lib.nh.us/teenpage/100bestbooks.htm
By Sharon Dogar
In July of 1942, sixteen-year-old Peter Van Pels was locked away in an attic in Amsterdam with his parents and another Jewish family with two daughters. Consider the story of the Annex, with Anne Frank, and the tragic outcome of these families from a new perspective.
The book was selected from the Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books for teen readers Age 14 and older (grades 7 to 10).
8. I Have Lived A Thousand Years: Growing Up In The Holocaust by Litton-Jackson, Livia
For Grades 8 through 12.
In 1944, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl is packed into a train and transported to Auschwitz along with her family. The roundups, transports, selections, camps, torture, forced labor and executions are detailed, as well as the liberation of the survivors and their return to freedom. Thirteen years old when she and her family walked through the gates of Auschwitz, Bitton-Jackson vividly describes this true story. The book doesn't dwell on the morbid, but is constantly laced with hope and the story of persons who love and care, making sacrifices for each other's survival.
9. Anne Frank and the Children of the Holocaust, by Carol Ann Lee
"Anne Frank and the Children of the Holocaust" provides the story of Anne Frank along with personal accounts of young people who were Holocaust survivors or victims, with excerpts from the journals of other Holocaust victims and photos, providing historical background, while capturing the emotional impact of the story. It provides an in depth look at the subject from the perspective of young people who lived through the Holocaust. For grades six and up.
The Triumphant Spirit: Portraits & Stories of Holocaust Survivors...Their Messages of Hope & Compassion,
by Nick Del Cazo and others.
ALA 1998 Best Books for Young Adults
"The Triumphant Spirit" was inspired by a trip to Dachau; the author provides black and white portraits of over 90 Holocaust survivors. Their stories are detailed along with inspiring quotes. Current photographs of Holocaust survivors, who have not only survived but have also thrived, accompany brief sketches of their lives from Hitler's ghettos and camps until the time the book was published.
Terezin: Voices from the Holocaust,
by Ruth Thomson (2013)
15,000 passed through the barbed wire fence of Terezin concentration camp in the small town of Terezín, Czechoslovakia from 1941 through 1945, less than 100 children survived. The camp produced artwork and poetry that graces this book, as well entries from secret diaries, and excerpts from memoirs; Terezin was reportedly a camp where inmates were forced to use their artistic talents, which Nazis used as a cover.
12. Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy
This is the heart-touching story of Jews living in a Polish ghetto under Nazi oppression, as related through poems. The book was written by the niece of one the only 12 children who survived. The author relates that she tried to write the story as a book but just couldn't do it, writing the story in poetry proved to be the only way. The sharp edges of painful history are made palatable through this account, where you become acquainted on a personal level with Jews under Nazi terror, and where Jews in black coats, hats and side locks are no longer a mysterious group of misfits, as prejudice would dictate, but entirely human, accessible, one of us.
This is a book worth having in the classroom alongside other classic works on this subject. It is lesser-known than the Diary of Ann Frank, but deserves a place alongside the Diary of Ann Frank in the classroom.
Pages Related to Teaching About the Holocaust, The Holocaust for Kids and Teens
Best Books list for children and teens
A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust
- Florida Center for Instructional Technology
Children of the Holocaust
- Stories of Survival
Non-Jewish Children in the [concentration] Camps
- The Museum of Tolerance
How to Identify Groups Persecuted in the Holocaust