Holocaust Historical Fiction Elementary
Prepared by James Bryan
Adler, David A. One Yellow Daffodil. New York: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1995.
Morris Kaplan fills his shop with fresh flowers from the market. Each Friday Jonathan and Ilana come to Morris’s shop to buy flowers for the Sabbath, but then one December week the children come on Tuesday. They need a special bouquet for the first night of Hanukkah. Surprised to learn that Morris doesn’t celebrate the holiday, they insist that he come home with them. Morris is once again able to embrace the traditional celebrations and remember his past in Poland.
Adler, David A. The Number on My Grandfather’s Arm. New York: UAHC Press, 1987.
A curious young girl asks her grandfather, who wears long-sleeved shirts and a coat, even in summer, about the number she notices on his arm while they are washing dishes together.
Appelfeld, Aharon. Adam and Thomas. New York: Triangle Square, 2015.
This is the story of two nine-year-old Jewish boys who survive World War II by banding together in the forest. (630L)
Bate, Helen. Peter in Peril: Courage and Hope in World War II. Herefordshire, UK:: Otter-Barry Books, 2016.
Peter is just an ordinary boy, who loves playing football with his friends and eating cake – until war comes to his city and the whole family have to go into hiding. This moving, true story of the Second World War, set in Budapest, Hungary, shows in vivid words and pictures how Peter, his cousin Eva and his mum and dad bravely struggle to survive in a city torn apart by warfare.
Bryant, Jen. Music for the End of Time. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans Books for the Young Readers, 2005.
This is the story of humanity, creativity, and survival. Olivier Messiaen, a well-known French composer, was captured by the Germans during World War II and taken to a prison camp. (650L)
Bunting, Eve. One Candle. New York: Joanna Cotler Books, 2002.
On the first night of Hannukkah, Grandma tells of her experience as a twelve-year-old in Buchenwald concentration camp including their Hannukkah experience. (420L)
Bunting, Eve. Terrible Things: An Allegory of the Holocaust. New York: Jewish Publication Society, 1995.
In this allegory the animals of the forest are carried away, one type after another, by the Terrible Things, not realizing that if perhaps they would all stick together and not look the other way, such terrible things might not happen.
Dauvillier, Loic et al. Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust. New York: First Second, 2014.
Dounia, a grandmother, tells her granddaughter the story even her son has never heard: how, as a young Jewish girl in Paris, she was hidden away from the Nazis by a series of neighbors and friends who risked their lives to keep her alive when her parents had been taken to concentration camps. (GN300L)
Elvgren, Jennifer. The Whispering Town. Minneapolis, MN: Kar-Ben Publishing, 2014.
Annet’s family is part of the Danish resistance, hiding Jews in their cellar until the hidden refugees can escape by boat to Sweden. Unlike many stories set during the Nazi occupation, this one finds its protagonist, who narrates the story, an already accomplished insurgent: when her mother tells Annet, “There are new friends in the cellar,” the girl knows whom to go to in the underground for additional food and even books for the young boy sheltering with his mother. (530L)
Feder, Paula. The Feather Bed Journey. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman, 1995.
As she rescues the insides of a torn feather pillow, Grandma tells about her childhood in Poland, about the Nazi persecution of Jews during World War II, and about the origin of this special pillow.
Gottsfeld, Jeff. The Tree in the Courtyard: Looking Through Anne Frank’s Window. New York: Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2016.
Told from the perspective of the tree outside Anne Frank’s window, this book introduces her story in a gentle and incredibly powerful way to a young audience. (AD590L)
Hardy, Candace J. When Reuben Blew the Shofar. St. Louis, MO: Guardian Angel Publishing, 2014.
Reuben is a young Jewish boy in the dark days before WWII. When he hears glass breaking in his father’s shop he knows he must do something quickly. Reuben’s family escapes through soldier lined streets, across the mountains and finally onto a ship that takes them to America.
Hausfater, Rachel. The Little Boy Star: An Allegory of the Holocaust. New York: Ibooks, 2006.
A young Jewish boy is given a star to wear. At first he is proud of the decoration, but soon finds the star overshadowing him. Lonely and frightened, he watches as other star-wearers are led away into the night.
Hesse, Karen. The Cats in Krasinski Square. New York: Scholastic Press, 2004.
This book tells a Holocaust story of the ghetto in Warsaw and the cats that were abandoned in Krasinski Square. (AD990L)
Heuvel, Eric, et al. The Search. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2009.
Esther remembers her own experience of the Holocaust as a Jewish girl living in Amsterdam, and recounts to her grandson Daniel and his friend Jeroen how she escaped from the Nazis and survived by going into hiding in the countryside.
Heuvel, Eric and Lorraine T. Miller. A Family Secret. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2009.
While searching his grandmother’s attic for likely items to sell at a yard sale, Jeroen finds a photo album that brings back hard memories for his grandmother, Helena, his grandmother, tells him about her experiences during the German occupation of the Netherlands during the Second World War, and mourns the loss of her Jewish best friend, Esther.
Hoestlandt, Jo. Star of Fear, Star of Hope. New York: Walker and Company, 2000.
Helen, a Gentile child, witnesses the persecution of her Jewish friend, Lydia. First Lydia must wear a yellow star. Eventually, Lydia disappears. (490L)
Johnson, Tony. The Harmonica. Watertown: MA: Charlesbridge, 2004.
Set in World War II Poland and inspired by a true story of a Jewish family, a young boy plays Schubert for the camp commandant.
Kacer, Kathy. The Magician of Auschwitz. Toronto: Second Story Press, 2014.
This is the true story of a young boy on the inside of Auschwitz, whose life is changed by the actions of a prisoner who performs magic for the guards and who the boy later learns was the famous Nivelli.
Kopelman, Judy Tal. Grandpa’s Third Drawer: Unlocking Holocaust Memories. Philadelphia, PA: Jewish Publication Society of America, 2014.
Of all the places in the world, Uri really loves to be at his grandparents’ house. There he can stay up way past his bedtime and eat as many sweets from the chocolate box as he likes. There’s only one forbidden place in that house: the third drawer in Grandpa’s desk.
Littlesuger, Amy. Willy and Max. New York: Philomel Books, 2006.
This book delivers the story of two young Jewish boys who are separated by circumstance when the Nazis arrive, but held together through generations by a simple painting and the unbreakable spirit of their friendship. (AD610L)
McCann, Michelle R. and Luba Tryszynska-Frederick. Luba: The Angel of Bergen-Belsen. Toronto: Tricycle Press, 2003.
This is a biography of the Jewish heroine, Luba Tryszynska, who save the lives of more than fifty Jewish children in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp during the winter of 1944-45.
MacDonald, Yona Zeldis. The Doll with the Yellow Star. New York: Henry Holt & Company, 2005.
Nine-year-old Claudine doesn’t want to leave her much-loved home in France to go live in America, not without her parents.
Mochizuki, Ken. Passage to Freedom. New York: Lee & Low Books, Inc., 2003.
In 1940, five-year-old Hiroki Sugihara, the eldest son of the Japanese consul to Lithuania, saw from the consulate window hundreds of Jewish refugees from Poland. (AD670L)
Nerlove, Miriam. Flowers on the Wall. New York: Simon & Schuster Children’s Books, 1996.
Rachel, a young Jewish girl living in Nazi-occupied Warsaw, struggles to survive with her family and maintains hope by painting colorful flowers on her dingy apartment walls.
Palacco, Patricia. The Butterfly. New York: Philomel, 2000.
During the Nazi occupation of France, Monique’s mother hides a Jewish family in her basement and tries to help them escape to freedom. (430L)
Poole, Josephine. Ann Frank. New York: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2005.
In this picture book, the life of Anne Frank, from birth until being taken from the hidden attic by the Nazis, is shown.
Roy, Jennifer. Jars of Hope: How One Woman Helped Save 2,500 Children During the Holocaust. North Mankato, MN: Capstone Young Readers, 2015.
This gripping true story of a woman who took it upon herself to help save 2,500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto during the Holocaust is not only inspirational; it’s unforgettable. (910L)
Rubin, Susan Goldman. The Anne Frank Case: Simon Wiesanthal’s Search for the Truth. New York: Holiday House, Inc., 2009.
In October 1958 renowned Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal received a disturbing phone call at his home in Linz, Austria. He rushed to the Landes Theater, where a group of teenagers were disrupting a performance of The Diary of Anne Frank. Wiesenthal, a Holocaust survivor, had made it his life work to ensure that Anne Frank and others who had died in the Holocaust were not forgotten. (910L)
Rubin, Susan Goldman. The Cat with the Yellow Star: Coming of Age in Terezin. New York: Holiday House, Inc., 2009.
Ela Stein was eleven years old in February of 1942 when she was sent to the Terezin concentration camp with other Czech Jews. The horrendous three-and-a-half years she spent there were full of sickness, terror, separation from loved ones, and loss, yet Ela forged lifelong friendships with other girls from Room 28 of her barracks. (800L)
Rubin, Susan Goldman. The Flag with Fifty-Six Stars. New York: Holiday House, 2005.
In 1945, after their liberation by American soldiers, the survivors of Mauthausen camp make a special gift for their liberators, an American flag, but with fifty-six stars. (940L)
Steele, D. Kelley. Would You Salute? Statesville, NC: Hidden Path Publications, 2005.
Margot grew up in Nazi Germany, and she soon realized that the choices she and her classmates made and the choices many within German society made have devastating consequences for the people she loved.
Vander, Ruth. Eli Remembers. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans Books for the Young Readers, 2007.
After many years watching the lighting of seven candles at Rosh Hashanah, Eli finally learns how those candles represent his family’s connection to the Holocaust in Lithuania.
Vander Zee, Ruth. Erika’s Story. Mankato, MN: Creative Editions, 2003.
This is the story of a Holocaust survivor of a Jewish couple who make a heart-rending decision so that their infant daughter might live.
Vaughan, Marcia. Irena’s Jars of Secrets. New York: Lee & Low Books, 2015.
Irena Sendler began by smuggling food, clothing, and medicine into the ghetto, then turned to smuggling children out of the ghetto. Using false papers and creative means of escape, Irena risked her own life to rescue Jewish children and hide them safely in orphanages, convents, and foster homes, and she kept secret lists of the children s identities, which were buried in jars under an apple tree.
Wivott, Meg. Benno and the Night of Broken Glass. Minneapolis, MN: Kar-Ben Publishing, 2014.
A neighborhood cat observes the changes in German and Jewish families in Berlin during the period leading up to Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass.
Wild, Margaret. Let the Celebrations Begin! A Story of Hope for the Liberation. New York: Candlewick Press, 2014.
Amid rumors of liberation, inmates at Germany’s Belsen camp create toys for a celebration in a moving story of hope, based on a true account. Miriam lives in hut 18, bed 22.
Yolen, Jane. Stone Angel. New York: Philomel Books, 2015.
The Nazis may have taken their home, but the family still has a guardian angel. In this emotionally rich story, a little girl and her family live happily in Paris until Nazi soldiers arrive during World War II. She and her family must flee or risk being sent to a concentration camp, so they run into the woods, where they meet resistance fighters. (AD840L)