December 12, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Pick of the Day: Yellow Star

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Yellow Star. By Jennifer Roy. 3 CDs. 3:06 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2012. ISBN 978-1-4692-1526-6. $49.97.

Gr 5-9–During the Holocaust, Nazi officials established the Lodz Ghetto in Poland, a desolate home to more than 245,000 Jews. Only 877 survived, including just 12 children. This story-in-verse (Amazon Children’s Pub., 2008) offers listeners a glimpse of the experiences of Syvia Perlmutter, Roy’s aunt, in the Lodz Ghetto from 1939, when she was just four years old, through 1945. Through Syvia’s eyes, we learn of the loving family who tried to endure unbelievable deprivations, seeing conditions deteriorate and neighbors disappear daily. Royrecreated these vignettes from her aunt’s taped narrative. Tavia Gilbert’s narration brings Syvia, her family members, and friends to life. While some pronunciations are questionable (Chelm-EH-no, Ha-VAH), the overall effect is authentic. Though Holocaust study is usually reserved for older students, this personal account serves as a rare foray into the perceptions and impressions of a little girl amidst grave realities.  Family love and support somehow overpower the heinous forces which would destroy all in the Ghetto, and Syvia manages to endure by cooperating with her courageous parents. Winner of several literary awards, this is a unique choice for understanding the dark years of Holocaust history, with a glimmer of hope emanating from one little girl who survived.–Robin Levin, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Teacher/Fellow, Ft. Washakie, WY

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