If only every teenager would read and embrace this story, I wonder if it would change the instant-gratification, me-me-me society that has evolved ove...moreIf only every teenager would read and embrace this story, I wonder if it would change the instant-gratification, me-me-me society that has evolved over the last 50 years? Of course, this novel is a staple in any Holocaust lesson planning. In a world in which so few teenagers (or adults, for that matter) seem to stop and give thanks for what they have (instead chirping about what they want or complaining about what they don't have), Anne Frank faced the most unfair of cruelties with a certain strength and grace that crushes nearly any "problem" kids or adults face. Many Holocaust books or movies make you think, "Why?! Why did this happen?!" This story makes me think, "How? How did Anne Frank find the strength to keep her head and record her thoughts during such an unbelievably difficult time?" In a world desperate for heroes and tired (though indelibly enamored by) spoiled athletes, stories like this are once-in-a-lifetime. Hats off to Anne Frank. She had dreams of becoming famous and, although it was for reasons she never would have imagined, at least that part of her dream became true. I appreciate how this story makes my students of all learning levels and backgrounds rethink what they thought they knew about sacrifices and challenges, and even gets some students thinking about how they can use their lives to make a positive difference for others.(less)
One of the 15 middle school Sunshine State books I am trying to read through. A solid historical fiction piece set in the 1929 prohibition times, a co...moreOne of the 15 middle school Sunshine State books I am trying to read through. A solid historical fiction piece set in the 1929 prohibition times, a couple of teenage boys (one with a crooked police chief dad and the other with a straight-and-true father) grapple with finding a dead body on the shore. They both get involved in different ways with the rum-running that is taking place. The Black Duck is the name of a rum-running vessel. A part-mystery, part-suspence/thriller, the story is told by an old man to a kid doing an expose for his school newspaper. I highly recommend this story for middle schoolers.(less)
One of 15 middle school Sunshine State Books. Historical fiction set during 1692 Salem Witch hunt. Real story about a girl's horrors as her and her fa...moreOne of 15 middle school Sunshine State Books. Historical fiction set during 1692 Salem Witch hunt. Real story about a girl's horrors as her and her family are accused of being witches. READ THIS BOOK! I can't imagine anyone reading this book and wishing they hadn't. Of all the ignorant, destructive, unfair things human beings have done to each other, the witch hunts rank among the worst.(less)
The Wave tells of a true story in which a California high school teacher essentially recreated a Holocaust-like setting in which peer pressure was use...moreThe Wave tells of a true story in which a California high school teacher essentially recreated a Holocaust-like setting in which peer pressure was used to manipulate the hearts and minds of a large group of people to believe a certain way. Just like too few people stepped up and stopped Hitler before his ignorant teachers turned deadly, this classroom experiment grew like a plague and endangered the lives of many.
The most common question as it relates to the Holocaust is HOW? How did the Holocaust ever happen? I like using The Wave as a way of helping students understand that one ignorant stereotype or idea held unaccountable can lead to disastrous consequences. One of the most crucial aspects of getting an education is to be in a position to challenge ludicrous ideas before they are left to grow into deadly ideas. While some students enjoy this story, some students do complain that it drags out just a bit. Overall, though, I find the use of this story important as part of a Holocaust unit. (138 pages)(less)
If you ever find yourself wishing that your life was better, then maybe you should read this book to remind you that your life could be a whole lot wo...moreIf you ever find yourself wishing that your life was better, then maybe you should read this book to remind you that your life could be a whole lot worse. It is amazing to think that millions upon millions of kids are trained to carry guns and kill innocent people just because of some greedy, vicious "leaders" who care nothing about decency and humanity. I know the United States tries to help those in need, but how I wish we could help more the people who need it the most. It is so sad to think that some countries are more focused on training their kids to shoot guns than to read books.(less)
“The suffering faces of depleted men and women reached across to them, pleading not so much for help – they were beyond that – but for an explanation....more“The suffering faces of depleted men and women reached across to them, pleading not so much for help – they were beyond that – but for an explanation. Just something to subdue this confusion.”
Have you ever thought about what it was like being a Jew living – or, more accurately, dying – in Nazi Germany? What if you reluctantly belonged to the Nazi party and were faced with the dangerous plea to help hide a Jew in your own home? Could you imagine learning to read and write in the basement with merely a paintbrush and a concrete wall as your paper? Have you ever wondered how Adolf Hitler would fare in a boxing match against a Jew whose life has been shattered by the Fuhrer’s reign? Are you curious as to how a German of perfect Aryanization could be transformed into an Olympic hero by the name of Jesse Owens? Have you ever stopped to think about the effects a bombing raid would have on the city you once knew and loved? You will find all of this and more reaching up from the pages of The Book Thief.
Who better to narrate a story about the Holocaust than Death himself?
“Mistakes, mistakes, it’s all I seem capable of at times. For two days, I went about my business. I traveled the globe as always, handing souls to the conveyor belt of eternity. I watched them trundle passively on…From miles away, as I approached, I could already see the small group of humans standing frigidly among the wasteland of snow. The cemetery welcomed me like a friend, and soon, I was with them. I bowed my head.”
Who knew that Death could be such a fine writer?
About The Book Thief, one book review commented, “It’s a book of greatness.” And that is exactly what this book is – painful but pure greatness! If you are interested in reading about the Holocaust and are looking for the absolute best fictional account of this tragic piece of history, then look no further. The Book Thief is it! (less)