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Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy

This afternoon Brown Bear Daughter inhaled this story of a little Jewish girl who survived life during World War II in the Lodz ghetto, and I read it myself in one sitting a few days ago. It’s not a long read, 227 pages, and the prose text is arranged in an almost poetic form such that each page only has about a hundred words. So it doesn’t take long to read, but it does pack an emotional punch.

Ms. Roy wrote the book based on the true story of her Aunt Sylvia Perlmutter, who was one of only twelve children who survived the Lodz ghetto in Poland. If you read the introduction or know anything about the Holocaust, you know from the beginning that there are difficult things coming in this book. I hesitated to give it to my eleven year old daughter because I didn’t know how it would affect her emotionally. However, she read it, said it was a good book, and didn’t seem too disturbed. I was the one who mourned as I read for all those children who didn’t survive —and even for those who did.

The Jewish refrain in relation to the Holocaust is, “Never forget!” However, we’re always only one generation away from forgetting what horrors man can perpetrate upon other men. I don’t know what at what age a child is old enough to learn about the horrors of the Holocaust, but I agree that we must not forget that “civilized” man is only one step away from barbarous acts of cruelty. And at some point even our children need to know that sin and evil are real.

They also need hope, and Jennifer Roy manages to tell a story that is filled with tragedy and yet leaves the reader with hope. As the story begins in the fall of 1939, little Sylvia is four and a half years old. On January 20, 1945, the day after she and her family are liberated from the ghetto, Sylvia celebrates her tenth birthday. By the time she is ten, Sylvia has seen and experienced things that most of us have, thankfully, only read about. She goes on to live a full life, marriage, a son, grandchildren. For over fifty years she doesn’t talk about her experiences during World War II. Finally, she tells her niece in a series of telephone interviews what she remembers of what happened to her and her family during the Holocaust.

It’s a story worth reading and remembering.

Again, this book is one of the many good books nominated for the Cybil Award for Middle Grade Fiction.

18 Comments

  • Erin says:

    I really loved this book.

  • Semicolon says:

    […] School Library Journal’s Best of 2006. We’re back to children’s and young adult books. Thanks to the Cybils, I’ve read or am reading several of these books: Yellow Star, Framed, Fly By Night, and, one more time, The Book Thief. […]

  • Semicolon says:

    […] 9. Cathy (Lives of Extraordinary Women10. JustOneMoreBook (The Grandmother Doll)11. Jennifer, Snapshot (the Known World)12. Nancy Ruth (The Story Book of Houses)13. Patrick Kurp (Loving)14. Semicolon (Yellow Star)15. Krakovianka (House of Exile)16. Emily (The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing) […]

  • habiba says:

    i dont like it

  • Amanda says:

    I love that book, i pretty much just finished it!!! I got it from the bookfair at my school and after i started reading it, i could not put it down!

  • noelie says:

    we read it in school
    and i loved it!!!=]

  • mackenzie says:

    i loved Yellow Star. So far i did 2 reports on it and
    i still want to read it again. Jennifer did an amazing Jobb!!!

  • linda says:

    This book is an impotant book for 6 or 7th graders to read. EVERY child should read this story so we will NEVER FORGET.

  • Allisoon says:

    Dear Jenifor roy i am 10 years old turning 11 in september and i read this book for a book list at my school. it is my favorite book it is so interesting i read it many times. and i wanted to know if maybe you can talk to sylvia and see if maybe she would allow me to right her if you can email me her adress i would love to right her any time i can thank you and please ask her cause i really want to right her

  • Paul says:

    I was supposed to read this book over the summer but i didnt get the book so now i have assignments and projexts that i cant do because of my carelessness.

  • Emma says:

    this book was so good And I enjoyed the style of how it was written

  • Aubrah says:

    This book was such a reality check for me. While I was reading it I would look over at my little brother and think of the little boy Isaac, thinking how lucky we are to live in such a civilized time. Where there are no dictators or rulers and we are just free. I love but hate books about the Holocaust, they are so sad but we need to remember these times and know what really happened and how horrible it was so we are always thankful for what we have

  • sierra says:

    dis book is very good in my class we are learning about da holocaust n if u can write us at robinson middle school wichita kansas 67208

  • Danielle says:

    I read this book in class. i didn’t want to read it at first. I finished this book in less than three books, and only good books i finish in less than 3 weeks.

  • Jazzy says:

    This was a good book

  • kk says:

    This book was ok… i mean it was good! But im reading another book call Number the Stars by: Lois Lowery! i think thats how you spell it.. (ha ha) ok so ya check that book out if you can!

  • carlin says:

    i love this book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • allison says:

    I love this book yellow star I have read it at least 10 times. It is so horible what hiter did to them.They most have hated their lives I know I would have.Hiter would have hated to live there so why did he do it to other people?

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