Rose Blanche by Roberto InnocentiThis is a horror story. Highly disturbing. Who the heck is this aimed at?!
Itís about the horrors of war/the Holocaust as seen through the eyes of a young (non-Jewish) German girl who doesnít fully understand the situation of the war going on. She does see some suffering though and tries to alleviate it. Sheís a wonderfully compassionate person.
Children who read or listen to this story are going to have questions, I think.
The book is beautifully illustrated but I found the story unsatisfying. The end didnít work for me; I wanted more. I am fine with disturbing stories, especially if aimed at a suitably mature audience, but this sparse tale is awfully dark for the picture book age set. And, while as an adult I understood exactly what happens, I donít think most children will without an explanation. If you read this to young children, be prepared to have a discussion, and I donít recommend this for young kids, not at all.
The co-author/illustrator used the significant name Rose Blanche for the young girl; it was also the name of a group of young German citizens who protested the war and were all killed. Iíve read quite a bit about the White Rose members and their courage, but the accounts were all written for an adult audience.
I canít say I recommend it for young kids. Children who already know something about war, and in particular the Holocaust, will probably get something positive out of this book. Children too young or sensitive to learn about the Holocaust and the killing (including the killing of children) that happens during wartime should probably not have this book as their introduction to such atrocities.
I do appreciate what these authors and illustrator are trying to contribute.
I just looked at the ratings distribution and I see Iím in the minority in giving this book only 3 stars.
How to write a picture book - Advice from a professional children's author
How Should Childrenís Books Deal with the Holocaust?
Every year, Jews around the world observe Holocaust Remembrance Day, known as Yom Hashoah in Hebrew, to ensure that the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis are never forgotten. The unimaginable horror of the Holocaust is hard for adults to fathom, so how do we talk to our children about it? These picture books, middle grade reads, and YA titles are good places to start. Benno the cat lives in Berlin, sleeps in the basement of an apartment building inhabited by Christian and Jewish families, and wanders his neighborhood getting scraps and ear scratches from the local businesspeople. This gripping real-life mystery will keep readers glued to the page. My daughter loves graphic novels, no matter the subject, so I was happy to find Hidden. Through captivating pictures and poetic language, a grandmother tells her granddaughter the story of how her non-Jewish neighbors in Paris kept her hidden after the Nazis sent her parents to a concentration camp.
Passover, another Jewish holiday that started Monday night, is also a time where we often focus on commemorating and retelling the tragedy of the Holocaust and the amazing efforts that many Jews took to escape the Nazis and start a new life. There are many truly amazing books for younger readers about the Holocaust. While a number of them are what you might consider middle grade fiction, and sometimes non-fiction, there are also some picture books that tell the story very well. It is a difficult topic to touch on, so all good books have to tread somewhat lightly and focus on the resilience and perseverance of a nation of people rather than on the tragedy itself. Here are a few of the books we have managed to read. A great way to start the conversation about what happened in Nazi Germany is to tell the story of Kristallnacht through the eyes of a cat.
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How young is too young? Do you go with fiction or nonfiction? How do you convey the magnitude of the tragedy without leaving your kid aghast, looking like a Keane painting? A lot of us drag our heels when it comes to discussing the subject at all. We tell ourselves we want our kids to maintain their innocence for as long as possible.