Holocaust & Other Genocides
Historical Fiction Novels & Informational Texts
prepared by JAMES BRYAN
Lexile scores, when available are in parenthesis, & a ê indicates that a movie exists for the novel.
Aaron, Chester. Gideon. New York: J. B. Lippincott, Jr. Books, 1982.
A teenage boy who is a member of the resistance describes the suffering in the Warsaw Ghetto and the concentration camp of Treblinka.
Ackerman, Karen. The Night Crossing. New York: Random House Books for Young Readers, 1995.
In 1938, having begun to feel the persecution that all Jews are experiencing in their Austrian city, Clara and her family escape over the mountains into Switzerland. (960L)
Appelfeld, Aharon, et al. Adam and Thomas. New York: Triangle Square, 2015.
Adam and Thomas is the story of two nine-year-old Jewish boys who survive World War II by banding together in the forest. They are alone, visited only furtively every few days by Mina, a mercurial girl who herself has found refuge from the war by living with a peasant family. (630L)
Baer, Edith. A Frost in the Night. London: Peter Smith Publishers Inc., 1980.
This novel is about a Jewish girl in Germany during Hitler’s rise to power in 1932.
Baer, Edith. Walk the Dark Streets. New York: Frances Foster Books, 1998.
This novel continues the story of Eva, a young Jewish girl living in Nazi Germany where she and her parents experience increasing tensions in daily life while considering possibilities of escape. (1130L)
Barth-Grozinger, Inge. Something Remains. New York: Hyperion Books, 2006.
When the Nazi Party takes over the German government, 12-year-old Erich Levi notices that his once vibrant household has turned somber; as life continues year after year in the village of Ellwangen, but just anger and hatred brews, making life for the Jewish residents intolerable and dangerous.
Bartolli, Susan Campbell. The Boy Who Dared. New York: Scholastic Press, 2008.
This novel tells the story of a 16-year-old German youth who dared to stand up against the Nazis. (760L)
Baylis-White, Mary. Sheltering Rebecca. New York: Lodestar Books, 1991.
In the days before the Second World War, twelve-year-old Sally becomes friends with Rebecca, a young Jewish refugee from Germany. (830L)
Bishop, Claire Huchet. Twenty and Ten. New York: Penguin Books, 1984.
A nun and twenty French children help hide ten young refugees from the Nazis. (630L)
Blum, Jenna. Those Who Saved Us. New York: Harcourt, 2005.
For fifty years, Anna Schlemmer has refused to talk about her life in Germany during World War II. Her daughter, Trudy, was only three when she and her mother were liberated by an American soldier and went to live with him in Minnesota. Trudy’s sole evidence of the past is an old photograph: a family portrait showing Anna, Trudy, and a Nazi officer, the Obersturmfuhrer of Buchenwald. Driven by the guilt of her heritage, Trudy, now a professor of German history, begins investigating the past and finally unearths the dramatic and heartbreaking truth of her mother’s life.
Boyne, John. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Oxford: David Fickling Books, 2008.
When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance. (1080L) ê
Cerrito, Angelo. The Safest Lie. New York: Holiday House Books, 2015.
In 1940, nine-year-old Anna Bauman and her parents are among 300,000 Polish Jews struggling to survive the wretched conditions in the Warsaw ghetto. Anna draws the attention of Irena Sendler, who smuggled hundreds of children out of the ghetto. (570L)
Cheng, Andrea. Marika. Asheville, NC: Front Street Books, 2002.
Marika is the story of a young Jewish girl in Hungary during World War II, and the struggles that she goes through during the war, eventually leading to hiding from the Nazis. (HL600L)
Chiger, Krystyna and Daniel Paisner. The Girl in the Green Sweater: A Life in Holocaust’s Shadow. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2012.
In 1943, with Lvov’s 150,000 Jews having been exiled, killed, or forced into ghettos and facing extermination, a group of Polish Jews daringly sought refuge in the city’s sewer system. The last surviving member this group, Krystyna Chiger, shares one of the most intimate, harrowing and ultimately triumphant tales of survival to emerge from the Holocaust. (1010L)
Chotjewitz, David. Daniel Half Human: And Half Good Nazi. New York: Atheneum Books, 2004.
In 1933 Germany, Daniel Kraushaar is horrified to discover that his mother is Jewish. Daniel realizes he is half-Jewish–and half-human in Aryan eyes. Daniel keeps this secret to himself. But when his friends join the Hitler Youth, it carries fateful consequences for Daniel’s family. (740L)
Clark, Kathy. The Choice. Toronto, Canada: Second Story Press, 2015.
Thirteen-year-old Jakob’s family has hidden their true identity as Jews and are living as Catholics in Budapest during World War II. One day, in a burst of loyalty, Jakob decides to reveal that he is Jewish, putting his whole family in danger.
Cormier, Robert. Tunes for Bears to Dance To. Minneapolis: Sagebrush Education Resources, 1994.
Mourning the death of his brother, Henry becomes friendly with a Holocaust survivor, Mr. Levine. Unfortunately for the new friends, Mr. Hairston, a man who holds the power over Henry, demands that a model village Mr. Levine has built to commemorate his past be destroyed. (840L)
Demetz, Hana. The Journey from Prague Street. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1990.
This is the story of a half-Jewish Czech girl during the Holocaust of World War II.
Dogar, Sharon. Annexed. Boston: HMH Books for Young Readers, 2010.
This novel explores what this might have been like from Peter’s point of view. What was it like to be forced into hiding with Anne Frank, first to hate her and then to find yourself falling in love with her? Especially with your parents and her parents all watching almost everything you do together. To know you’re being written about in Anne’s diary, day after day? What’s it like to start questioning your religion, wondering why simply being Jewish inspires such hatred and persecution? Or to just sit and wait and watch while others die, and wish you were fighting. As Peter and Anne become closer and closer in their confined quarters, how can they make sense of what they see happening around them?
Douglas, Kirk. The Broken Mirror. New York: Simon & Schuster Books, 1997.
After World War II ends a Jewish boy whose family has been killed by the Nazis lies to his American liberators, telling them that he is a Gypsy rather than a Jew. Sent to a Catholic orphanage, Moishe runs away after his best friend there is adopted.
Drucker, Malka. Jacob’s Rescue. New York: Bantam Skylark, 1993.
A man recalls the terrible years of the Holocaust, when a couple hid him and other Jewish children, in response to his daughter’s questions. (680L)
Engle, Margarita. Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in the Tropics. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 2009.
Daniel has escaped Nazi Germany with nothing but a desperate dream that he might one day find his parents again. But that golden land called New York has turned away his ship full of refugees, and Daniel finds himself in Cuba. (1170L)
Fleischman, Sid. The Entertainer and the Dybbuk. New York: HarperCollins, 2007.
This is the story of a second-rate ventriloquist who becomes possessed by the spirit of a 12-year-old Jewish boy killed in the Holocaust. (610L)
Friedman, Carl. Nightfather. New York: Persea Books, 2002.
The legacy of the Holocaust is passed to a young girl through her father, a concentration camp survivor. (680L)
Forman, James. My Enemy, My Brother. Lido Beach, NY: Meredith Publishers, 1969.
A Jewish family joins the underground, but members are captured by the Gestapo and are sent to a concentration camp. (790L)
Friedman, D. Dina. Escaping into the Night. New York: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2006.
Based on factual accounts of encampments that saved Jews during World War II, this gripping debut brings a footnote of history to center stage as it tells the harrowing story of one Polish girl’s strength in the face of destruction.
Glatshteyn, Yanek. Emil and Karl. New York: Roaring Book Press, 2006.
Emil and Karl are two young boys–one Jewish, the other not—who suddenly find themselves without homes or families in Vienna on the eve of World War II. (720L)
Gleitzman, Morris. Now. New York: Square Fish, 2013.
Felix is a now grandfather. He has achieved much in his life and is widely admired in the community. He has mostly buried the painful memories of his childhood, but they resurface when his granddaughter Zelda comes to stay with him. Together they face a cataclysmic event armed only with their gusto and love—an event that helps them achieve salvation from the past, but also brings the possibility of destruction. (HL610L)
Gleitzman, Morris. Once. New York: Square Fish, 2013.
Felix, a Jewish boy in Poland in 1942, is hiding from the Nazis in a Catholic orphanage. The only problem is that he doesn’t know anything about the war, and thinks he’s only in the orphanage while his parents travel and try to salvage their bookselling business. And when he thinks his parents are in danger, Felix sets off to warn them–straight into the heart of Nazi-occupied Poland. (640L)
Gleitzman, Morris. Then. New York: Square Fish, 2013.
Felix and Zelda have escaped the train to the death camp, but where do they go now? They’re two runaway kids in Nazi-occupied Poland. Danger lies at every turn of the road. With the help of a woman named Genia and their active imaginations, Felix and Zelda find a new home and begin to heal, forming a new family together. (HL580L)
Goldstein, Lisa. The Red Magician. New York: Tor Books, 2014.
Eleven-year-old Kicsi, a traveling magician, and the village rabbi are caught in a struggle of Old and New Worlds, and pre- and post-Holocaust Hungary.
Gratz, Alan et al. Prisoner B 3087. New York: Scholastic Press, 2013.
As a Jewish boy in 1930s Poland, Yanek is at the mercy of the Nazis who have taken over. Everything he has, and everyone he loves, have been snatched brutally from him. And then Yanek himself is taken prisoner — his arm tattooed with the words PRISONER B-3087. (760L)
Gratz, Alan et al. Projekt 1065: A Novel of World War II. New York: Scholastic Press, 2016.
World War II is raging. Michael, originally from Ireland, now lives in Nazi Germany with his parents. Like the other boys in his school, Michael is a member of the Hitler Youth. But Michael has a secret. He and his parents are spies. Michael despises everything the Nazis stand for. . .but he joins in the Hitler Youth’s horrific games and book burnings, playing the part so he can gain insider knowledge. When Michael learns about Projekt 1065, a secret Nazi war mission, things get even more complicated.
Greif, Jean Jacques. The Fighter. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2006.
As a young boy, Maurice learns to fight because he cannot run away from the boys who taunt him. Later these skills serve him as he is sent to Auschwitz where he boxes for the Nazi guards. (HL660L)
Hillman, Laura. I Will Plant You a Lilac Tree: A Memoir of a Schindler’s List Survivor. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2005.
An account of a young Polish girl who was sent to a series of concentration camps and survived the war after being placed on Schindler’s List, finally marrying a fellow survivor. (740L)
Holm, Ann. North to Freedom. Minneapolis: Sagebrush Education Resources, 1990.
After escaping from an Eastern European concentration camp where he has spent most of his life, a twelve-year-old boy struggles to cope with an entirely strange world as he flees northward to freedom in Denmark. (980L)
Hoestland, Jo. Star of Fear, Star of Hope. New York: Walker, 1995.
A nine-year-old girl, Helen, is confused by the disappearance of her Jewish friend during World War II. (490L)
Isaacs, Anne. Torn Thread. St. Louis, MO: San Val, Inc., 2002.
This is the story of a twelve-year-old Jewish girl and her older sister as the struggle to survive in a German labor camp. (880L)
Iturbe, Antonio. The Librarian at Auschwitz. New York: Holt Books for Young Readers, 2017.
Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.
Jung, Reinhardt. Dreaming in Black and White. New York: Dial Books, 2003.
This haunting short novel explores the Holocaust from a rarely told perspective, as a boy journeys into his country’s chilling past.
Kacer, Kathy. The Night Spies. Toronto, Canada: Second Story Press, 2003.
The courage of righteous Gentiles and partisans during World War II creates a focal point for this account of Jews hiding from the Nazis in Czechoslovakia. (750L)
Kaurin, Marianne and Rosie Hedger. Almost Autumn. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2017.
It’s October 1942, in Oslo, Norway. Fifteen-year-old Ilse Stern is waiting to meet boy-next-door Hermann Rod for their first date. She was beginning to think he’d never ask her; she’s had a crush on him for as long as she can remember. But Hermann won’t be able to make it tonight. What Ilse doesn’t know is that Hermann is secretly working in the Resistance, helping Norwegian Jews flee the country to escape the Nazis.
Kaurin, Marianne and Rosie Hedger. Almost Autumn. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2017.
In 1942 Oslo, Norway, fifteen-year-old Ilse Stern is waiting to meet boy-next-door Hermann Rod for their first date. She was beginning to think he’d never ask her; she’s had a crush on him for as long as she can remember. But Hermann won’t be able to make it tonight. What Ilse doesn’t know is that Hermann is secretly working in the Resistance, helping Norwegian Jews flee the country to escape the Nazis.
Kay, Mara. In Face of Danger. New York: Crown Publisher, Inc., 1977.
An English girl visiting Germany just before World War II discovers that her hostess is hiding two Jewish girls in her attic while her son is a member of the Hitler Youth.
Kerr, Judith. When Hitler Stole the Pink Rabbit. New York: Sagebrush Education Resources, 1997.
Nine-year-old Anna was too busy with schoolwork and friends in 1933 to take much notice of Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in her native Germany. But when her father is suddenly, unaccountably missing, and her family flees Berlin in secrecy, Anna is forced to learn the skills needed to be a refugee and finds she’s much more resilient than she thought. (940L)
Kositsky, Lynne. The Thought of High Windows. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2005.
Young, Jewish and on the run from the Nazis, Esther is one of a group of children who manage to flee Germany at the beginning of World War II. But as the war rages on and Esther bears witness to its horrors, her pain and isolation grow — until only the highest windows bring the promise of release.
Kramer, Clara and Stephen Glantz. Clara’s War: One Girl’s Story of Survival. New York: Ecco, 2010
For 18 months, a young teen hid with 17 other Polish Jews in a bunker dug under the home of their avowed anti-Semitic neighbor, Beck, while the Nazis occupied their town of Zolkiew. The unrelenting hardships of daily life are spellbinding. With German soldiers moving in upstairs, a snore, a sneeze, a cough could mean the end of us.
Laird, Christa. Shadow of the Wall. New York: Greenwillow Press, 1990.
A Jewish boy in the Warsaw Ghetto is involved with Janusz Korczak, who is considered one of Poland’s greatest heroes.
Levine, Karen. Hana’s Suitcase: The Quest to Solve a Holocaust Mystery. New York: Random House Children’s Books, 2016.
In March 2000, Fumiko Ishioka, the curator of a small Holocaust education center in Tokyo, received an empty suitcase from the museum at Auschwitz. On the outside, in white paint, were the words “Hana Brady, May 16, 1931, Orphan. Fumiko and the children at the center were determined to find out who Hana was and what happened to her all those years ago, leading them to a startling and emotional discovery.
Levitin, Sonia. Room in the Heart. New York: Dutton Books, 2003.
The basis of this novel is the true story of how thousands of Denmark’s Jews were saved from the Nazis, by the Danes courage and kindness. (690L)
LeZotte, Ann Clare. T4. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2008.
In 1939, a thirteen-years-old deaf, Paula Becker, lives with her family in a rural German town. As rumors swirl of disabled children quietly disappearing, a priest comes to her family’s door with an offer to shield Paula from an uncertain fate. When the sanctuary he offers is fleeting, Paula needs to call upon all her strength to stay one step ahead of the Nazis.
Leyson, Leon. The Boy on the Wooden Box. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2015.
This powerful memoir of one of the youngest boys on Schindler’s list deserves to be shared. Leon Leyson grew up in Poland as the youngest of five children. As WWII breaks out, Leyson’s ingenuity and bravery, combined with the kindness of strangers and a bit of serendipity, save his life, time and again. (1000L)
Levine, Ellen. Darkness Over Denmark: The Danish Resistance and the Rescue of the Jews. New York: Holiday House, 2000.
The true story of Denmark citizens who risked their lives to protect and rescue their Jewish neighbors from the Nazis during World War II. (890L)
Lobel, Anita. No Pretty Pictures: A Child of War. New York: Greenwillow Books, 1998.
A Polish Jew during World War II gives her account of the war and her years after spent in Sweden. (750L)
Lowenstein-Malz, Ronit. Escape in Time: Miri’s Riveting Tale of Her Family’s Survival During World War II. Washington, DC: MB Press, 2015.
Nessya’s grandmother, Miri Eneman Malz, has friends, a loving family-and a secret. . .she is a Holocaust survivor. When twelve-year-old Nessya learns the truth, she wants to know what happened. After decades of silence, Grandma Miri decides it’s time to tell her story.
Lowry, Lois. Number the Stars. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1989.
AnneMarie learns how to be brave when she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis occupying Denmark. (670L)
Matas, Carol. After the War. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1996.
After being released from Buchenwald at the end of World War II, fifteen-year-old Ruth risks her life to lead a group of children across Europe to Palestine. (840L)
Matas, Carol. Daniel’s Story. New York: Scholastic, 1993.
This is the story of Daniel, a young Jewish boy, who first loses his him in Frankfort, then is forced into the Lodz ghetto, and finally ends in Auschwitz. (740L)
Matas, Carol. Greater Than Angels. New York: Simon & Schuster Books, 1998.
In 1940, Anna Hirsch and her family are captured by the Nazis and deported to a refugee camp in the south of France. The children held in the camp are sent to Le Chambon, a tiny village whose citizens have agreed to care for deported children. (690L)
Matas, Carol. In My Enemy’s House. New York: Simon Pulse, 2000.
As Nazi aggression moves into Poland, Marisa pretends to be a Christian so she can live with her good friend’s family, which means separation from her own family and survival during the Holocaust. (560L)
Matas, Carol. Lisa’s War. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1989.
The people of Denmark help Jews to escape. (600L)
McKay, Sharon E. The End of the Line. Toronto: Annick Press, 2014.
This is the story of how the most dreadful conditions can lead ordinary citizens to perform the most heroic acts. . .people like Lars, Hans, and Mrs. Vos, who risked their own lives to save Jews in wartime Europe.
Meyer, Susan Lynn. Black Radishes. New York: Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, 2010.
In 1940, the mischievous Marcel, and his cousin Jean-Paul, Gustave moves with his mother and father to Saint-Georges, a small village in the countryside, believing it is safer for Jews. In June, the French army is defeated, and Paris is occupied. Saint-Georges is still part of the free zone, but the situation there is becoming increasingly precarious. (790L)
Morpurgo, Michael. Waiting for Anya. New York: Viking, 1990.
Jo and Benjamin devise an escape plan to save a band of Jewish children in Vichy, France during World War II. (770L)
Murphy, Louise. The True Story of Hansel and Gretel. New York: Penguin Books, 2003.
In the last months of the Nazi occupation of Poland, two children are left by their father and stepmother to find safety in a dense forest. Because their real names will reveal their Jewishness, they are renamed “Hansel” and “Gretel.” They wander in the woods until they are taken in by Magda, an eccentric and stubborn old woman called “witch” by the nearby villagers. Magda is determined to save them, even as a German officer arrives in the village with his own plans for the children.
Nolan, Han. If I Should Die Before I Wake. Florida: Harcourt Paperbacks, 2003.
A neo-Nazi teen is transported back in time to World War II Poland, where she is now a Jewish girl in a Nazi ghetto. (840L)
Orgel, Doris. The Devil in Vienna. New York: Dial Press, 1978.
A Jewish girl and the daughter of a Nazi are friends. (800L)
Orlev, Uri. The Island on Bird Street. New York: Houghton-Mifflin Company, 1984.
A Jewish boy in the Warsaw Ghetto lives in a bombed-out building and experiences many emotions rather than surrender to the Germans. (690L) ê
Orlev, Uri. The Lady with the Hat. New York: Puffin Books, 1999.
In 1947, seventeen-year-old Yulek, the only member of his immediate family to survive the German concentration camps, joins a group of young Jews preparing to live on a kibbutz in Israel, unaware that his aunt living in London is looking for him. (840L)
Orlev, Uri. The Man from the Other Side. New York: Houghton-Mifflin Company, 1991.
Fourteen-year-old Marek and his grandparents shelter a Jewish man in the days before the Jewish Uprising. (930L)
Orlev, Uri. Run, Boy, Run. New York: Walter Lorraine Books, 2003.
Srulik is only eight years old when he finds himself all alone in the Warsaw ghetto, and he escapes into the countryside, dependent on the sympathies and generosity of the poor farmers in the surrounding area. (570L)
Ossowski, Leonie. Star without a Sky. New York: Lerner Group, 1985.
In the last chaotic days of World War II, five young Germans discover a Jewish boy hiding in a cellar and are torn over whether or not to turn him over to the Nazi authorities as the law demands.
Pausewang, Gudrun. The Final Journey. New York: Viking, 1998.
A young Jewish girl is protected by her family from the Nazi treatment of Jews during World War II until the day she must make her own final journey. (720L)
Peet, Mal. Tamar. New York: Candlewick Press, 2007.
When her grandfather dies, Tamar inherits a box containing a series of clues and coded messages. Out of the past, another Tamar emerges, a man involved in the terrifying world of resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied Holland half a century before. His story is one of passionate love, jealousy, and tragedy set against the daily fear and casual horror of the Second World War. . .and unraveling it is about to transform Tamar’s life forever.
Perl, Lila. Lilli’s Quest. Ig Publishing.
Germany on the cusp of World War II. Hitler has risen to power, and the Jews are being taken away from their homes in the middle of the night, forced to wear yellow stars, their businesses smashed, their lives in ruins. In the middle of all this is Lilli Frankfurter, a half-Jewish girl on the cusp of adolescence, her life and family thrust into the midst of a danger she has only begun to understand.
Polak, Monique. What World is Left? Victoria, B.C.: Orca Publishers, 2008.
Anneke, a Dutch Jewish teenager, is sent with her family to Theresienstadt, a “model” concentration camp, where she confronts great evil and learns to do what it takes to survive. (740L)
Porter, Anna. Kasztner’s Train: The True Story of an Unknown Hero of the Holocaust. New York: Walker & Company, 2008.
During the Nazi occupation of France, Monique’s mother hides a Jewish family in her basement and tries to help them escape to freedom.
Pressler, Mirjam. Malka. New York: Philomel Books, 2003.
When the roundups start in the Polish village, Malka’s mother knows she must get her daughters across the Hungarian border to safety–a place where Jews can live in peace.
Preus, Margi. Shadow of the Mountain. New York: Amulet Books, 2012.
This is the adventures of a 14-year-old Norwegian boy named Espen during World War II. After Nazi Germany invades and occupies Norway, Espen and his friends are swept up in the Norwegian resistance movement. During five years under the Nazi regime, he gains–and loses–friends, falls in love, and makes one small mistake that threatens to catch up with him as he sets out to escape on skis over the mountains to Sweden. (730L)
Radin, Ruth Yaffe. Escape to the Forest. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2000.
When the Nazis invade Poland, nothing is safe anymore. Ten-year-old Sarah and her family must leave their home and live in a Jewish ghetto surrounded by barbed wire. (660L)
Ray, Karen. To Cross a Line. New York: Orchard Books, 1994.
Seventeen-year-old Egon Katz, a Jewish baker’s apprentice, decides to flee Nazi Germany after Kristallnacht in 1938 and after he accidentally crashes his scooter into a high-ranking Nazi official’s car. (680L)
Reiss, Johanna. The Upstairs Room. New York: Crowell, 1972.
A Newbery Honor book that gives a fictionalized account of the author’s two and a half years spent hiding in the upstairs bedroom of a farmhouse during World War II. (680L)
Richter, Hans Peter. Friedrich. New York: Penguin Books, 1987.
The story of the Nazi atrocities against the Jews is told through the eyes of a young boy in Germany who has a young Jewish friend, Friedrich. (650L)
Ross, Stewart. The Star Houses. Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Educational Series, 2002.
Bandi Guttmann is a 14-year-old Hungarian Jew living in Budapest in 1944. German forces occupy the city, and life for Bandi and his family is about to become unbearable.
Roth-Hanno, Renee. Touch Wood: A Girlhood in Occupied France. New York: Four Winds Press, 1988.
Three young girls, who are Jewish, are sent by their parents to live at a Roman Catholic convent for protection during the Nazi occupation of France. (750L)
Roy, Jennifer. Yellow Star. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish, 2006.
From 1939, when Syvia is four and a half years old, to 1945 when she has just turned ten, a Jewish girl and her family struggle to survive in Poland’s Lodz ghetto during the Nazi occupation. (710L)
Sachs, Marilyn. A Pocket Full of Seeds. New York: Doubleday Publishing, 1973.
A Jewish French family suffers through the persecution of the Nazis during the occupation of France. (720L)
Sender, Ruth Minsky. The Cage. New York: Macmillan, 1986.
One teenager recounts the horrors and suffering of her family in a Polish ghetto and eventually in a Nazi concentration camp. (500L)
Serrailier, Ian. Escape from Warsaw. New York: Scholastic Books, 1972.
During World War II three children are separated from their family and try to escape destruction. (810L)
Sharenow, Robert. The Berlin Boxing Club. New York: Turtleback Books, 2012.
Karl Stern has never thought of himself as a Jew; after all, he’s never even been in a synagogue, but the bullies at his school in Nazi-era Berlin don’t care that Karl’s family doesn’t practice religion. Demoralized by their attacks against a heritage he doesn’t accept as his own, Karl longs to prove his worth. Then Max Schmeling, champion boxer and German hero, makes a deal with Karl’s father to give Karl boxing lessons. (880L)
Siegal, Aranka. Upon the Head of the Goat. New York: Farrar Straus and Giroux, 1981.
The story of a young Jewish girl in Hungary during World War II and the effect of the Holocaust on her family. (830L)
Spinelli, Steven. Milkweed. New York: Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2003.
Set in Nazi-occupied Poland just before the Warsaw ghetto uprising, this novel tells a tale of heartbreak, hope, and survival though the eyes of a young orphan, Misha. He might be a Jew, or is he a Gypsy? His friend Uri gives him a story to tell about a Gypsy background in an attempt to help Misha survive. (510L)
Spradlin, Michael P. The Enemy Above: A Novel of World War II. New York: Scholastic Press, 2016.
Twelve-year-old Anton knows his family can’t outrun the Nazis, so a web of underground caves seems like the perfect place to hide, but s Major Karl von Duesen of the Gestapo has made it his mission to round up every Jew in the Ukrainian countryside. (660L)
Thor, Annika & Linda Schenck. A Faraway Island. New York: Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, 2009.
In the summer of 1939, two Jewish sisters from Vienna, twelve-year-old Stephanie Steiner and eight-year-old Nellie are sent to Sweden to escape the Nazis, and they expect to stay there six months, until their parents can flee to Amsterdam, but over time life changes for them. (680L)
Toll, Nelly S. Behind the Secret Window. New York: Dial Books, 1993.
This is the story of a young girl’s experiences when she and her mother were hidden from the Nazis by a Gentile couple in Lvov, Poland during World War II. (910L)
Toksvig, Sandi. Hitler’s Yellow Canary. Roaring Brook Press, 2007.
The story of the courage of ordinary Danes who saved the Jewish population of Denmark from death by the Nazi occupiers; Bamse, and his best friend, Anton, is one of the most daring boys in all of Denmark who goes against his father’s advice to follow his daring brother into the Resistance
Treseder, Terry Walton. Hear O Israel. New York: Atheneum Children’s Books, 1990.
A thirteen-year-old boy is getting ready for his Bar Mitzvah in the last days of the Warsaw Ghetto in World War II.
Velde, Vivian Vande. A Coming Evil. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2007.
During the German occupation of France in 1940, thirteen-year-old Lisette meets a ghost while living with her aunt who harbors Jewish and Gypsy children in the French countryside. (740L)
Voigt, Cynthia. David and Jonathan. New York: Scholastic, Inc. 1994.
The relationship between two close friends, Henry and Jonathan, changes when Jonathan’s cousin David, a victim of the Holocaust, comes to live with David’s family. (720L)
Vos, Ida. Ana Is Still Here. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1995.
Thirteen-year-old Anna, who was a “hidden child” in Nazi-occupied Holland during World War II, gradually learns to deal with the realities of being a survivor. (420L)
Vos, Ida. Dancing on the Bridge of Avignon. New York: Puffin Books, 1995.
This is the experience of a young Jewish girl and her family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during World War II.
Vos, Ida. Hide and Seek. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1993.
A Jewish girl living in Holland tells of her experiences during the Nazi occupation, her years in hiding, and the after shock when the war finally ends.
Vos, Ida. The Key Is Lost. New York: Scholastic, 2001.
Her name has been Eva Zilverstiju her whole life, until today. In a couple of hours, the entire Zilverstiju family must go into hiding from the Germans, who want to kill all the Jews in Holland. Suddenly Eva may no longer be Eva Zilverstiju, but another child with a strange French name. (500L)
Watts, Irene N. Seeing Refuge. Vancouver, British Columbia: Tradewind Books, 2017.
Eleven-year-old Marianne Kohn arrives in Great Britain with the Kindertransport, a rescue that shipped Jewish children out of Germany before the outbreak of WWII. Memories and nightmares of escalating hate under the Third Reich persist as she makes her way in a country that isn’t entirely happy to have her. Her first foster mother, counting on free domestic help, cares only for appearances. Evacuated to rural Wales after the war begins, Marianne encounters outright bigotry, then stays with a couple whose own daughter has died, and who attempt, creepily, to remake Marianne into her image.
Warren, Andrea. Surviving Hitler: A Boy in the Nazi Death Camps. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2002.
Living happily in Poland, twelve-year-old Jack Mandelbaum is hardly aware that he is Jewish. Then Hitler comes to power. (820L)
Whitney, Kim Ablon. The Other Half of Life: A Novel Based on the True Story of the MS St. Louis. New York: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2009.
This is a novel based on the ship carrying Jews fleeing the Nazis that was refused admittance by many countries, and eventually returned to Europe with most of its passengers. (HL730L) ê
Wiseman, Eva. My Canary Yellow Star. Plattsburgh, N.Y.: Tundra Books, 2002.
Marta and her family survive with the help of Raoul Wallenberg.
Wiesel, Elie. The Gates of the Forest. New York: Schocken Books, 1989.
A Jewish boy who escapes the Nazis pretends to be a deaf mute to keep his freedom.
Williams, Laura E. Behind the Bedroom Wall. Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 1996.
Ten-year-old Korinna must decide whether to report her parents to her Hitler Youth group when she discovers that they are hiding Jews in a secret space behind Korinna’s bedroom wall. (660L)
Winter, Kathryn. Katarina. New York: Scholastic, 1999.
During World War II, a Jewish orphan is living with her aunt and uncle when she is rounded up with other Jews, and sent to live in a peasant household. (660L)
Wiviott, Meg. Paper Hearts. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2015.
Amid the brutality of Auschwitz during the Holocaust, a forbidden gift helps two teenage girls find hope, friendship, and the will to live in this novel in verse that is based on a true story. (600L)
Wolf, Joan. Someone Named Eva. New York: Clarion Books, 2007.
The Nazis take Milada, a young Czech girl, away from her family and send her to a Lebensborn center in Poland. She is given a new name, Eva, and trained to become the perfect German citizen, to be the hope of Germany’s future–and to forget she was ever a Czech girl named Milada. (960L)
Yolan, Jane. Briar Rose. New York: Tor Books, 2002.
After her grandmother’s death, a young American woman struggles to uncover the truth behind the old woman’s past. The trail eventually leads to Europe and the darkest days of World War II. (820L)
Yolan, Jane. The Devil’s Arithmetic. New York: Viking Kestrel, 1988.
Hannah resents the traditions of her Jewish heritage until time travel places her in the middle of a small Jewish village in Nazi-occupied Poland. (730L) ê
Zail, Suzy. Playing for the Commandant. New York: Candlewick Press, 2014.
A young Jewish pianist at Auschwitz, desperate to save her family, is chosen to play at the camp commandant’s house. How could she know she would fall in love with the wrong boy? (HL700L)
Walrath, Dana. Like Water on Stone. New York: Random House Children’s Books, 2014.
It is 1914, and the Ottoman Empire is crumbling into violence, but the Ottoman pashas set in motion their plans to eliminate all Armenians, neither twin has a choice. Shahen Donabedian dreams of going to New York. Sosi, his twin sister, never wants to leave her home, especially now that she is in love, but now they are forced to leave. (HL720L)
Filipović, Zlata. Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Sarajevo. New York: Viking, 1994.
As war engulfs Sarajevo, Zlata Filipovic becomes a witness to food shortages and the deaths of friends and learns to wait out bombardments in a neighbor’s cellar. Yet throughout she remains courageous and observant. (640L)
Halilbegovićh, Nadja. My Childhood under Fire: A Sarajevo Diary. Toronto: Kids Can, 2006.
On the first day of the siege of Sarajevo, 12-year-old Nadja Halilbegovich’s life changed forever. In the face of constant tank and sniper fire, daily life in this beautiful, mountain-ringed city was suddenly full of fear. (830L)
Mead, Alice. Adem’s Cross. New York: Random House Children’s Books, 1998.
Set in 1993 in a former Yugoslavian province, this drama examines the plight of ethnic Albanians in Serb-occupied Kosovo when one Albanian boy defies authority. (660L)
Mead, Alice. Girl of Kosovo. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2011.
Even after her father and brothers are killed and her leg is gravely injured in a Serb attack, 11-year-old Zana struggles to heed her father’s advice: “Don’t let them fill your heart with hate. (640L)
Schraff, Anne E. Gingerbread Heart. Logan, IA: Perfection Learning, 1999.
Jelena learned one thing from the war in her Bosnian homeland—friends can become your worst enemies. Can she ever learn to trust her new American classmates? (710L)
Laird, Elisabeth. Kiss the Dust. New York: Penguin Young Readers Group, 1994.
Her father’s involvement with the Kurdish resistance movement in Iraq forces thirteen-year-old Tara to flee with her family over the border into Iran, where they face an unknown future. (850L)
Combres, Élisabeth. Broken Memory: A Novel of Rwanda. Toronto, Canada: Groundwood, 2009.
Hiding behind the old sofa, five-year-old Emma does not witness the murder of her mother, but she hears everything. When the assassins finally leave, the young Tutsi girl manages to stumble away, motivated only by the memory of her mother’s last words: “You must not die, Emma!” (890L)
Jansen, Hanna. Over a Thousand Hills I Walk with You. Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda Books, 2006.
Eight-year-old Jeanne was the only one of her family to survive the 1994 Rwanda genocide, and then a German family adopted her. (790L)
Stassen, Jean-Philippe. Deogratias: A Tale of Rwanda. New York: First Second, 2006.
This is the story of the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda, as seen through the eyes of a boy named Deogratias.
German Genocide of Undesirables
LeZotte, Ann Clare. T4. Boston: HMH Books for Young Readers, 2008.
It is 1939. Paula Becker, thirteen years old and deaf, lives with her family in a rural German town. As rumors swirl of disabled children quietly disappearing, a priest comes to her family’s door with an offer to shield Paula from an uncertain fate. When the sanctuary he offers is fleeting, Paula needs to call upon all her strength to stay one step ahead of the Nazis.