Learn American History Through Literature: The HolocaustHeidi Ciravola
The Holocaust is a period of history that is difficult to cover in your homeschool lessons simply because of all the senseless killing. One of the great benefits of learning history through literature is that it can help you to process difficult subjects like the Holocaust.
The Holocaust killings were done primarily in Nazi Germany, but the atrocities spanned many countries and became one of the many complex reasons for the outbreak of World War II.
Because of the nature of this topic, be extra careful to screen any books or materials you use with your children. Of course use your own discretion as to when your children are ready to handle this subject matter.
Holocaust Book Suggestions
This book by John Boyne is a fictional tale of the unlikeliest of friends: the son of a Nazi commandant and a Jewish concentration camp inmate. It is told from the perspective of Bruno, a nine year old son of a Nazi commandant living on the periphery of Auschwitz.
- Novel Study for The Boy in Striped Pajamas
- Along with reading this book, there is a movie adaptation. Here is a great free learning guide to go along with the watching of the movie.
- FREE Printable Movie vs. Book worksheet
Art Spiegelman wrote these graphic novels out of his own conversations and memories of his father’s experiences in Auschwitz. These are beautifully illustrated and truly moving works of art. He uses cats to represent the Nazis, and mice to represent the Jews. This is truly a survivor’s tale done in a totally unique and engaging manner.
- Study Questions for Maus I from the City University of New York
- Discussion Questions for Maus II
- A Timeline of Events for Spiegelman and his family, along with questions, quotes, and more resources.
This book by Markus Zusak is the newest of the books mentioned here. The story of Liesel Meminger is narrated by Death. We begin with Liesel at nine years of age, right after the death of her brother and at the separation from her mother. The story takes us on a journey through Nazi Germany, during the time of the Holocaust, from the perspective of a Liesel, a citizen in a fictional town called Molching.
- Discussion Questions and an interview with the author from Random House
- Along with reading this book, there is a movie adaptation. You can visit The Book Thief website to view a trailer and get a downloadable discussion guide.
- A FREE Printable Movie vs. Book worksheet
- Timeline of the Holocaust – This timeline includes a printable pdf option as well as the online version.
- The Holocaust Explained – A website designed to help 11-16 year old students learn about the Holocaust.
- The Holocaust from The History Channel – Articles, video, and pictures take you back to the concentration camps, the survivors, and more.
- More Literature Related to the Holocaust along with tons of lesson plans, resources, and extras pertaining to the Holocaust.