Posts Tagged Holocaust

The Flag With Fifty-Six Stars by Susan Goldman Rubin

Today is Remembrance Day (or Veterans Day) and so I’m thinking of the tremendous heroism and sacrifice of the members of the military — now and in the past.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields

Having grown up in Canada where people put poppies on their coats today, and where there is a minute of silence at 11:11 a.m., I wanted to recommend a book about soldiers — preferably one that incorporates In Flanders Fields, the haunting poem we were forced to memorize as children. Sadly, while there is such a book — In Flanders Fields by Linda Granfield — I have to admit that I haven’t read it and so it is difficult to recommend it (though if you try it out, let me know what you think).

However, this week also marks Kristallnacht, or the Night of the Broken Glass, a night that some point to as the first major act of the Nazi government against the Jews in Germany. So in memory of both of these events, I wanted to recommend a really special, albeit it painful, book.

The Flag With the Fifty-Six Stars

The Flag With the Fifty-Six Stars

The Flag With Fifty-Six Stars by Susan Goldman Rubin is a haunting portrayal of the last days of WW2 when Jewish prisoners in the Mathausen concentration camp have heard that the American army is on their way to liberate them. Despite the fact that the prisoners are sick, having eaten virtually nothing for years and filthy from the squalor they’ve been forced to live in, they decide that they want to give a gift to these American soldiers who are coming to help them. And so, scrimping and saving and looking for scraps, they heroically find enough supplies to create an American flag to greet their saviors. However, while they get the requisite number of stripes right, they wind up creating a flag with fifty-six stars. It’s the true story of the creation of the flag and the incredible courage of the prisoners and the soldiers that Susan Goldman Rubin retells in this fascinating book.

It’s not a story for the faint of heart, but an important story nonetheless as we remember not only the Jews and other nations that were killed in the Holocaust, but also the brave troops that fought, and died, to liberate them.

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As Good as Anybody by Richard Michelson

Some books just sweep you away. Richard Michelson’s latest illustrated book (because I don’t think that many 8+ year olds would be attracted to the picture book label), As Good as Anybody: Martin Luther King and Abraham Joshua Heschel’s Amazing March Toward Freedom, does just that.

As Good As Anybody

As Good As Anybody

The memorable snapshot of Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel marching together in Selma, Alabama, serves as the jumping off point for the book.  Tracing the childhood events and inspirations for both men’s activism in sparse text, Michelson, aided by Raul Colon’s stunning illustrations, mentions but doesn’t dwell in the prejudice that they both faced, but rather demonstrates the inspiration that both received to stand tall and believe that they were “as good as anybody.”

Picture book biographies can sometimes feel bogged down by the facts, but this one truly doesn’t. By the end, when the two leaders join together for the famous march and “[t]here were not enough police in the state to hold the marchers back. There were not enough mayors and governors and judges to stop them,” you and your children will be hard pressed not to feel inspired as well.

Warning: there are some Holocaust moments in this book but they are not graphic.

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