10 December 2009

37. Yellow Star

Jennifer Roy first learned her Aunt Syvia's Holocaust story almost fifty years after Syvia had been liberated from a Nazi camp, one of only twelve Jewish children who survived the Lodz Ghetto in Poland. Ms. Roy knew immediately that she wanted to tell the story to others. After a number of attempts, she decided to write the story in first person verse. She states:

When my aunt recounted her childhood to me, she spoke as if looking through a child's eyes. She made her experiences feel real, immediate, urgent. In the poetry of a survivor's words, this is Syvia's story. (p. n/a)

This memoir in verse is divided into five distinct parts, based on time periods during the War. The author provides brief historical facts about the period as it pertains to her aunt's family and other Jews in Poland and all of Europe.

The author provides free downloads for educators. Pre-Reading, Language Arts, Social Studies, Art/Music, Math, and Discussion Questions. Although our library has the book listed as Grade 4-8, I think that most portions of the book could be read to or by even younger students. The free verse is beautiful and true to the young girl who lived this life from age four to ten. While the story is often horrifying, I believe it is a story we all need to hear. Here is just a small sample of the story:


is the color of

the felt six-pointed star

that is sewn onto my coat.

It is the law

that all Jews have to wear the

Star of David

when they leave their house,

or else be arrested.

I wish I could

rip the star off

(carefully, stitch by stitch, so as not to ruin

my lovely coat),

because yellow is meant to be

a happy color,

not the color of

hate. (pp. 7-8)

Ultimately, the yellow stars on their coats help in the rescue of Syvia and her family. What a wonderful tribute to one child's Holocaust narrative.

TITLE: Yellow Star
AUTHOR: Jennifer Roy
PAGES: 227
TYPE: poetry, Holocaust memoir
RECOMMEND: Excellent book

1 comment:

Jew Wishes said...

This sounds like a must read book for me.