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One Candle - A Book Review

Guest Author - Paula Laurita

How does one introduce a topic as difficult as the Holocaust to elementary students? This book by Eve Bunting will light the way.

While the summer may seem an odd time to examine a Hanukah book, this book offers much more. It will open your expose your upper elementary students to a world that is difficult to understand. It will also share why it is important to remember those who suffered and died during the Shoah (Holocaust).

Eve Bunting has never shired away from difficult topics. In One Candle, Bunting pairs with Wendy Popp to create a gentle, but heart rending book. In this story the Hanukkah story of courage and preserverance is interrelated with the story of Grandma and Great-Aunt Rose. The annual family tradition is a story of determination and endurance against the blackness of hate.

These two women share how when they were mere girls they were imprisoned in Buchenwald. To honor the Festival of Lights in this dark place Grandma steals a potato to create a Hanukkah candle. This act of choosing life in a place of death has the power to "lift [them] to the stars." At the end of the present day dinner, Grandma again makes a candle from a potato to remember the past and celebrate life.

Popp's illustrations are perfect for this book. Each page is perfectly illustrated. The present looks as if it is bathed in candle light. The past is presented in the sepia tones of old photographs. The camp and barracks are shown in ways that confer the starkness of life without horrors inappropriate to elementary students.

An excellent book to add to your library collection. Highly recommended for students in grades three and above.

Suite University
Featured Course:
The Holocaust: Laying the Ground Work For the Final Solution

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Content copyright © 2014 by Paula Laurita. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Paula Laurita. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Christine Sharbrough for details.

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