A Mighty Girl Reads: Holocaust Remembrance Week

A Mighty Girl features recommendations for books, movies, TV, music, and much more that serve to empower girls and women. Read on below for a selection of their book choices to mark Holocaust Remembrance Week, which begins April 16, and visit https://www.amightygirl.com to see more.

Hidden written by Loic Dauvillier; illustrated by Marc Lizano; ink by Greg Salsedo

In this gentle, poetic graphic novel, Dounia, a grandmother, tells her granddaughter the story even her son has never heard: how, as a young Jewish girl in Paris, she was hidden away from the Nazis by a series of neighbors and friends who risked their lives to keep  her alive when her parents had been taken to concentration camps.


The Butterfly by Patricia Polacco

Since the Tall Boots–the Nazis–have marched into Monique’s small French village, terrorizing it, nothing surprises her. Until one night Monique encounters “the little ghost” sitting at the end of her bed. When she turns out to be–not a ghost at all–but a little girl named Sevrine, who has been hiding from the Nazis in Monique’s own basement, how could Monique not be surprised! Playing upstairs after dark, the two become friends until, in a terrifying moment, they are discovered, sending both of their families into a nighttime flight.

The Librarian of Auschwitz: The Graphic Novel adapted by Salvia Rubio; illustrated by Loreto Aroca; based on the novel by Antonio Iturbe

Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz. Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this graphic novel tells the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.

The Tower of Life: How Yaffa Eliach Rebuilt Her Town in Stories and Photographs written by Chana Stiefel; illustrated by Susan Gal

Yaffa grew up in Eishyshok, Poland, a bustling town where her Grandma Atle ran a beloved photo studio. Every day, people would pose for Grandma Atle, celebrating special moments. Many of those photographs were sent around the world before the Jewish New Year, as part of a tradition for wishing good health and happiness. When Nazi soldiers invaded the town, nearly 3,500 Jewish people, including Yaffa’s friends, family, and neighbors, were wiped off the Earth. Yaffa survived, and in the aftermath, she had a mission: she would recover thousands of those photographs to build the Tower of Life, a stunning exhibit remembering the people she knew and loved.

The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen

Hannah thinks Seder with her relatives is boring, and her grandfather and great-aunt, with their camp tattoos and grim stories, are upsetting. Why should she have to remember these terrible things that have nothing to do with her? But when Hannah is transported to 1940s Poland, stepping into the identity of Chaya, a girl her age, and experiences being shipped to a concentration camp first-hand, she learns more than she expected about compassion, identity, and memory.

What the Night Sings by Vesper Stamper

After losing her family and everything she knew in the Nazi concentration camps, Gerta is finally liberated, only to find herself completely alone. Without her Papa, her music, or even her true identity, she must move past the task of surviving and onto living her life. In the displaced persons camp where she is staying, Gerta meets Lev, a fellow teen survivor who she just might be falling for, despite her feelings for someone else. With a newfound Jewish identity she never knew she had, and a return to the life of music she thought she lost forever, Gerta must choose how to build her new future.

Just a Girl  written by Lia Levi; illustrated by Jess Mason

1938, Italy. Six-year-old Lia loves to build sandcastles at the beach and her biggest problem is her shyness and quiet, birdlike voice–until prime minister Mussolini joins forces with Hitler in World War II, and everything changes.

Now there are laws saying Jewish children can’t go to school, Jews can’t work, or go on vacation. It’s difficult for Lia to understand why this is happening to her family. When her father loses his job, they must give up their home and move from city to city. As war comes closer, it becomes too dangerous to stay together, and Lia and her sisters are sent to hide at a convent. Will she ever be “just a girl” again?

Making Bombs for Hitler by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

Lida thought she was safe. Her neighbors wearing the yellow star were all taken away, but Lida is not Jewish. She will be fine, won’t she? But she cannot escape the horrors of World War II. Lida’s parents are ripped away from her and she is separated from her beloved sister, Larissa. The Nazis take Lida to a brutal work camp, where she and other Ukranian children are forced into backbreaking labor.

Starving and terrified, Lida bonds with her fellow prisoners, but none of them know if they’ll live to see tomorrow. When Lida and her friends are assigned to make bombs for the German army, Lida cannot stand the thought of helping the enemy. Then she has an idea. What if she sabotaged the bombs…and the Nazis? Can she do so without getting caught?

The Light in Hidden Places by Sharon Cameron

It is 1943, and for four years, 16-year-old Stefania has been working for the Diamant family in their grocery store in Przemsyl, Poland, singing her way into their lives and hearts. She has even made a promise to one of their sons, Izio–a betrothal that they must keep secret since she is Catholic and the Diamants are Jewish.

But everything changes when the German army invades Przemsyl. The Diamants are forced into the ghetto, and Stefania is alone in an occupied city, the only one left to care for Helena, her six-year-old sister. And then comes the knock at the door. Izio’s brother Max has jumped from the train headed to a death camp. Stefania and Helena make the extraordinary decision to hide Max, and eventually twelve more Jews. Then they must wait, every day, for the next knock at the door, the one that will mean death. 

When the knock finally comes, it is two Nazi officers, requisitioning Stefania’s house for the German army.

Catherine’s War by Julia Billet and Claire Fauvel

At the Sèvres Children’s Home outside Paris, Rachel Cohen has discovered her passion–photography. Although she hasn’t heard from her parents in months, she loves the people at her school, adores capturing what she sees in pictures, and tries not to worry too much about Hitler’s war. But as France buckles under the Nazi regime, danger closes in, and Rachel must change her name and go into hiding.

 Book descriptions taken from the Delaware County Libraries catalog, which pulls summaries provided by the publisher.

Recommended books featured in blogs are not intended to be a comprehensive list. We’d love to hear about your favorite books too, so leave a comment and tell us about your recommendations!