In recent years, there has been an increased awareness of the importance of primary sources to provide accurate information about the Holocaust. Most of these memoirs are geared toward adult readers. The authors of Whispers from the Ghetto clearly understand their target audience of children. The collection of personal accounts, some in first-person, others third person, offer insights in to the lives of young people living in the ghettos of Eastern Europe. The stories are heart wrenching in detail, but written with a careful hand. From “The Whistler,” which tells of a boy who joined the “Ghetto Swingers” jazz band, to “Lost Stories,” about a girl who saved her soul through her writing, the lives of many brave boys and girls are honored through the retelling of their experiences. The horrors of the Holocaust are not minimized, but the strength and spirit of those who fought through the darkest of times will leave readers with a sense of awe and wonder at their bravery. Teachers will welcome this book into their classroom. For grades 7 and up.
Barbara Bietz is a freelance writer and children’s book reviewer. She is currently a member of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee. Barbara is the author of the middle grade book, Like a Maccabee. She has a blog dedicated to Jewish books for children at www.BarbaraBBookBlog.Blogspot.com.