Holocaust Young Adult Novels

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Impossible Escape by Steve S

White Rose by Kip Wilson

(also recommend the movie Sophie Scholl)

The Light in Hidden Places by Sharon Cameron

(Also recommend the movie Hidden in Silence)

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe

Based on the story of an actual prisoner of Auschwitz, Dita Kraus, this heart-racing tale tells the story of Dita’s fight to keep the magic of books alive even in a deathly prison camp. When fellow prisoner Freddy Hirsch entrusts Dita with 8 precious books, she takes the responsibility to heart. Safeguarding these volumes from the eyes of the guards proves to be a harrowing ordeal, but Dita knows that her role as the librarian of Auschwitz is essential for preserving hope in the camp. 

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Lithuanian teenager Lina enjoys a quiet and ordinary life until Soviet forces invade her village and capture her family. Her father is forced onto one train, while Lina, her mother, and brother are placed on another. They eventually reach a gulag, a Siberian work camp that threatens to erase all memories of home as Lina and her family members fight for their lives. In between moments of misery, Lina works to find sparks of joy by drawing. She also imbeds clues about her location into her works, hoping that they will somehow reach her father and enable him to find the rest of the family, never losing the hope she holds in her heart that one day they will all be together again. 

(Content warning: rape is mentioned)

The Sunflower by Simon Wiesenthal

Often used in college history or philosophy classes, the actual story of the Sunflower is only about 100 pages long. The second half of the book is a commentary on the book from notable individuals including scholars, genocide survivors, and more. This story explores the limits of forgiveness and makes excellent discussion.

Hitler Youth: Growing up in Hitler’s Shadow by Susan Campbell Bartoletti*

Hitler Youth is an absolute must-read. I believe every child should learn about the Hitler Youth. This informational book is a great way to start, as it introduces readers to the roots of Nazi Germany, Hitler Youth, and this effective brainwashing. I also enjoyed how Bartoletti also included some stories of teenagers who resisted Hitler. This was a Newbery Honor book. Grab the book study here.

Night by Elie Wiesel

Perhaps the most famous Holocaust memoir, 15-year-old Elie Wiesel describes his experience in Auschwitz and Buchenwald in this haunting memoir. Despite its short length, it is gut-wrenching and brutal at times.

More Holocaust Resources for Students

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