Jewish Booklists, “Schindler’s List” Curriculum | New Resources to Counter Anti-Semitism

With anti-Semitism on the rise, teaching the lessons of history to inform students and counter bigotry has never been more important. Here are resources with recommended books for young readers about the Jewish experience and a new curriculum to help students understand the Holocaust and its legacy, with the life of Oskar Schindler as an entry point.

With anti-Semitism on the rise, teaching the lessons of history to inform students and counter bigotry has never been more important. These new resources recommend books for young readers about the Jewish experience and provide teaching points for “Schindler’s List” developed for the 25th anniversary of the Academy Award-winning film.

Love Your Neighbor booklist 

The Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) has posted “Let’s Be Friends,” the final set in its four-part booklist for young readers, “Love Your Neighbor.” The other categories offer picture books and chapter books on themes of: “Standing Up for Each Other,” “Synagogues, Clergy, and Jewish Ritual," and "The American Jewish Experience." 

Created in response to the October 2018 shooting which claimed 11 lives in a Pittsburgh synagogue, the “Love Your Neighbor” list is available online and in PDF format. 

“Books read in youth impact future outlooks, and it is our hope that meeting Jews on the page will inspire friendship when readers meet Jews in real life,” according to AJL’s blog post.  

“Schindler’s List” Curriculum Guide

A new curriculum will give teachers more resources to help students tackle prejudice and hatred, drawing on the life of Oskar Schindler as an entry point. Developed by the nonprofit organization Journeys in Film, in partnership with the USC Rossier School of Education's Center for Engagement-Driven Global Education, the “Schindler’s List” curriculum guide  provides eight lessons, from “Resistance During the Holocaust” to “The Art of Steven Spielberg.” Lessons integrate contemporary issues and events, such as the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA, and links to Common Core standards.

The resource also addresses film literacy and guides students in making their own cell phone movies.

“I hope this curriculum guide will help you share with your students a meaningful understanding of the complicated man who was Oskar Schindler,” writes actor Liam Neeson, who played Schindler in the 1993 film (pictured), in a letter accompanying the curriculum. “I hope it will instill a vital determination to wipe out prejudice and racism wherever it is found, so that genocides like the Holocaust can never occur again.”

On Thursday, January 17, Facing History  will host its own webinar around teaching with the film. "Building a Toolbox Against Hate: Schindler's List in the Classroom" takes place live at 1:00-2:00 pm EST, with a replay available on demand. 

Holocaust fading from memory

A 2018 study revealed critical gaps in knowledge about the Holocaust among Americans. In addition, most Americans—70 percent, according to the Claims Conference study—assert that fewer people care about the Holocaust than they used to and 58 percent believe that such an event could happen again.

The number of anti-Semitic incidents rose nearly 60 percent in 2017 from 2016, the largest single-year increase on record, reported the Anti-Defamation League in February 2018. Contributing to the sharp rise was a significant increase in incidents in schools and college campuses.


See also:

"PJ Library Helps Parents Talk about Anti-Semitism" | Library Journal




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Kathy Ishizuka

Kathy Ishizuka is editor in chief of School Library Journal.

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