The Diary of a Nouveau Soccer Mom: 25 Must-Read Holocaust Books for Middle Grades

Thursday, April 16, 2015

25 Must-Read Holocaust Books for Middle Grades

As a history teacher, Holocaust books are an important part of my curriculum, and as a homeschool mom, there are plenty of must-read Holocaust books in our library.


For my own children, 4th grade seems to be where we have started reading fiction about the Holocaust.  For my students, I currently teach 7th grade and do include Holocaust information.  I have previously taught 5th and 6th that have included introduction to the Holocaust materials.  I was even blessed to have a Holocaust speaker come talk to my classes as well as our 7th and 8th graders years ago, and highly recommend hearing one if you ever have the chance to.

With the help of my now-12 year old, 7th grade daughter, we've compiled a list of 25 must-read Holocaust books for the middle grade level. (All links are our Amazon affiliate store, which helps me keep ahead of buying Faith books!)
  • Twenty and Ten by Claire Huchet Bishop - During the occupation of France, twenty French children agree to hide ten Jewish children from the Nazis.
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry - Ten-year-old Annemarie learns how to be courageous and resourceful as she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis in occupied Denmark.
  • Hana's Suitcase by Karen Levine - A biography of a Czech girl who died in the Holocaust, told in alternating chapters with an account of how the curator of a Japanese Holocaust center learned about her life after Hana's suitcase was sent to her.
  • Elly: My True Story of the Holocaust by Elly Berkovits Gross - The author describes how she was sent to Birkenau by the Nazis and fought for survival before being set free at the end of the war and beginning a new life in America.
  • Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy - This is the true story of Syvia Perlmutter — a story of courage, heartbreak, and finally survival despite the terrible circumstances in which she grew up.
  • Four Perfect Pebbles: A Holocaust Story by Lila Perl, Marian B. Lazan and Marion Blumenthal Lazan - Marion believes that, if she could find four perfect pebbles of almost exactly the same size and shape, it meant that her family would remain whole. Mama, Papa, she, and Albert would survive Bergen-Belsen.
  • Escaping the Holocaust by Julian Padowicz - When the Nazis invade Poland in 1939, Yulian and his mother flee their home and hire a guide to take them secretly over the snow-covered Carpathian Mountains to a neighboring country.
  • Hide and Seek by Ida Vos - A young Jewish girl living in Holland tells of her experiences during the Nazi occupation, her years in hiding, and the aftershock when the war finally ends.
  • Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz - Based on the life of Jack Gruener, this book relates his story of survival from the Nazi occupation of Krakow, when he was eleven, through a succession of concentration camps, to the final liberation of Dachau.
  • The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen - Hannah resents the traditions of her Jewish heritage until time travel places her in the middle of a small Jewish village in Nazi-occupied Poland.
  • Good Night, Maman by Norma Fox Mazer - After spending years fleeing from the Nazis in war-torn Europe, twelve-year-old Karin Levi and her older brother Marc find a new home in a refugee camp in Oswego, New York.
  • I Have Lived A Thousand Years: Growing Up In The Holocaust by Livia Bitton-Jackson - This is the story of the author's experiences during World War II when she and her family were sent to the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.
  • Hidden Like Anne Frank: 14 True Stories of Survival by Marcel Prins - This book tells the stories of fourteen other children who were hidden away during World War II to save their lives.
  • We Fought Back: Teen Resisters of the Holocaust by Allan Zullo - This book has true stories of teenage Jews who fought back against the Nazis primarily in eastern Europe by using tactics such as guerilla warfare and sabotage.
  • Odette's Secrets by Maryann Macdonald - When Odette's father becomes a Nazi prisoner-of-war and the Paris police begin arresting Jews, her mother sends Odette to hide in the Catholic French countryside where she must keep many secrets to survive.
  • Milkweed  by Jerry Spinelli - This is the story of a Jewish orphan in Poland who lives on the streets with other orphans while trying to avoid the German troops.
  • The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible by Leon Leyson - The true story of the author who was one of the youngest people saved by Oskar Schindler during the Holocaust.
  • Someone Named Eva by Joan M. Wolf - Milada is taken from her home in Czechoslovakia to a school in Poland to be trained as "a proper German" for adoption by a German family, but all the while she remembers her true name and history.
  • Survivors: True Stories of Children in the Holocaust by Allan Zullo - This book tells the true stories of nine Jewish children who survived the Holocaust.
  • Katarina by Kathryn Winter - During World War II in Slovakia, a young Jewish girl in hiding becomes a devout Catholic and is sustained by her belief that she will return home to her family as soon as the war ends.
  • Surviving Hitler: A Boy in the Nazi Death Camps by Andrea Warren - When twelve-year-old Jack is separated from his family and shipped off to the Blechhammer concentration camp, his life becomes a nightmare but he manages to survive by thinking of his family.
  • Once, ThenNow, and After by Morris Gleitzman - These books are a series about a boy named Felix who is trying to survive the war in Poland and then his life after the war.
  • When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr - When Hitler rises to power in Germany, Anna and her family escape to Switzerland to try to survive.
  • The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss - For two years, a Gentile family hid Annie and her sister, Sini, in the cramped upstairs room of their farmhouse in Nazi-occupied Holland.
  • Annexed by Sharon Dogar - This is a fictional story, told from the viewpoint of Peter Van Pels, the boy whose family hid with Anne Frank's family in the annex.
What books have we missed?  Leave us a comment if you have any that should be added to our list.  We would love any and all suggestions!

1 comment:

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