Jan 26, 2012

International Holocaust Remembrance Day: History Through Children's Literature

In November 2005, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution introduced by Israel that designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The assembly did so to urge the nations of the world to observe the day so future generations would be spared from history repeating itself.

This year the special theme of “Children and the Holocaust” is the focus of the international observance, with events and programs about the experiences of children. Introducing children to the history of the Holocaust can be challenging, but sharing material that they can most easily relate to—stories about children, families or pets—can be a thoughtful, gentler way to educate young and innocent readers who would have a difficult time conceptualizing the magnitude and brutality of the Holocaust.
As a publisher of Jewish literature for children, Kar-Ben has created books and educational materials (for use by parents or teachers) that can serve as a bridge for children learning about the Holocaust.

Marcel Marceau Master of Mime is a picture book that shares the remarkable early life of the famous mime. From the time he was five, young Marcel, the son of a kosher butcher, wanted to be a performer like his idol Charlie Chaplin. However, World War II intervened and Europe became a very dangerous place for a Jewish teenager like Marcel. Joining the French Resistance, he risked his life to help save the lives of French children, smuggling them across the border into Switzerland. Download the free eSource Guide that accompanies this book.

Benno and the Night of Broken Glass deftly describes Kristallnacht and its aftermath from the perspective of a neighborhood cat. Benno was the neighborhood’s favorite cat. During the week, he napped in a sunny corner of Mitzi Stein’s dress shop, and begged scraps from Moshe the Butcher. He spent Shabbat evenings with Sophie Adler’s family in Apartment 3B. But one night the Nazis came to Berlin. Windows were shattered, books were burned, and Benno’s Jewish friends disappeared. Life would never be the same. Download the free eSource Guide that accompanies this book.

Janusz Korczak's Children: In the years between WWI and WWII, young Henryk Goldszmidt dreamed of creating a better world for children. As an adult, using the pen name Janusz Korczak, he became a writer, doctor, and an enlightened leader in the field of education, unaware to what use his skills were destined to be put.  Dr. Korczak established a Jewish orphanage in Warsaw where he introduced the world to his progressive ideas in child development and children’s rights. When the Nazis occupy Warsaw, the orphanage is moved to the ghetto, and when the 200 children in his care are deported, Dr. Korczak famously refuses to be saved, marching with his charges to the train that will take them to their deaths. Download the free eSource Guide that accompanies this book.

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