All About Adolescent Literacy

All about adolescent literacy. Resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.
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Those Who Risked Their Lives in WWII

Read about the underground resistance movement and brave individuals who helped shelter Jews, from the perspectives of both the rescuers and the survivors. These books are an excellent complement to history units on World War II. This list is excerpted from Dr. Joan Kaywell's latest volume in her series Adolescent Literacy as a Complement to the Classics.

A Coming Evil

Age Level: 12-14

As a measure of safety, 13-year-old Lisette Beaucaire is sent away from her home in Nazi-occupied Paris to live with an aunt in the country. Disappointed she won't be with her friends to start a new school year, Lisette is disconcerted about having nothing to do but spend time with her annoying cousin, Cecile. She quickly realizes, however, that her time in the country will be anything but ordinary when she discovers that her aunt is hiding Jewish and Gypsy children from the Nazis. In addition to preparing for the day the Germans come looking for them, she meets Gerard, the ghost of a 14th-century knight, who ends up playing a significant role in the outcome of this story.

The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place

Age Level: 12-14

This nonfiction work is the description of how this heroine of the anti-Nazi underground in Holland and her family hid persecuted Jews in their home. Eventually they were betrayed, and they, too, spent some time in concentration camps.

The Good Liar

The Good Liar

Age Level: 9-12

Three girls trying to complete a school assignment on World War II contact Marcel Delarue, an artist who grew up in France when it was occupied by the German army. In the letter he writes to the girls — that makes up the bulk of the book — Marcel describes how he and his two brothers, Ren and Pierre, took pride in their ability to successfully tell outrageous lies; the boys even befriend a Nazi soldier. What Marcel doesn't know, though, is that the best liar in the family is his mother, who was hiding a Jewish family in their rural home for over a year without the boys knowing it. This sometimes humorous, sometimes sad story shows how ordinary people can become extraordinary heroes.

Postcards from No Man's Land

Postcards from No Man's Land

Age Level: 16-18

Jacob Todd, a British soldier wounded in World War II, falls in love with Geertrui, a Dutch teenager who hides him from his pursuers in 1944. Now his 17-year-old grandson, also named Jacob Todd, has traveled to Holland to visit the grave of the grandfather he never met. Upon arriving in Amsterdam, Jacob is not prepared for the perplexing experiences of the city, seeing Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam, or for the shocking story that reveals family secrets. Two stories, Jacob Todd's and Geertrui's, from two different times are intertwined throughout the book and raise some very thought-provoking questions.

Rescuers Defying the Nazis

Rescuers Defying the Nazis

Age Level: 12-14

Rescuers Defying the Nazis actually includes three short texts: "In the Ghettos," "Rescuers," and "Hidden Children" replete with photo documentation. The stories of Jewish teenagers who were assisted by gentiles in Poland, Denmark, and Germany are told as well as the harrowing accounts written by the courageous survivors of the Lodz, Theresienstadt, and Warsaw ghettos.

Number the Stars

Number the Stars

Age Level: 9-12

The narrator, 10-year-old Annemarie, and her family defy the Nazis as Danish Jews are gathered for transport to death camps. They help Annemarie's best friend, Ellen Rosen, and her family escape to Sweden. The horror of World War II is mitigated by the limited view of the narrator, yet the courage of individuals shines through for a breathtaking look at this time in history.