Tough Subjects, Young Readers

Sometimes kids ask questions about things before you think that they’re ready for the answers.  It isn’t always easy to think of how to answer those questions in a way that tells just what they need to know, without giving them more than they can handle.

There are few subjects harder to discuss with kids than the Holocaust.  How much do you explain?  How do you make it something that doesn’t scare them, but makes sure that they understand how devastating the Holocaust has been  to generations of people?  That is often when good books can help bridge the gap of knowledge, while keeping the material appropriate and easy to understand.

This year, two fantastic books were published about the Holocaust that are appropriate for kids in early elementary school.  The Whispering Town by Jennifer Elvgren and Fabio Santomauro and Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loic Daulvillier, Greg Salsedo, and Marc Lizano are both beautifully written and illustrated, and would be fantastic books to share with your curious second or third grader.

Based on a true story, The Whispering Town tells one of the clever wasy that ordinary people helped each other escape the Nazis.  This is a hopeful book that teaches the importance of helping others in need.

Hidden is marvelous in its ability to tell just enough for kids to understand that the Holocaust was devastating, even to kids like them, without overwhelming kids with the realities of concentration camps and war.  This is a gem of a graphic novel.

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