Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy is a rare blend of poetry and memoir. Roy has retold the story of aunt Sylvia, one of 12 children who survived the Lodz ghetto during World War II. The story is broken up into five parts with a factual overview of each section. Then, Roy brilliantly tells her aunt’s story in poetic free verse. The book includes a timeline at the end.
Aunt Sylvia did not share her story with many for almost 50 years. Thankfully, she agreed to taped phone interviews which Roy used as the basis for the story. She creates a strong first person character in Sylvia as we see the invasion of Poland by the Germans through her eyes.
Sylvia is just four at the story’s beginning. She is among the 270,000 Jews rounded up and put into the ghetto with barbed wire. At ten, Russians liberate the ghetto’s 800 survivors of which 12 are children. She has seen it all the brutality, the need to hide in the cemetery with her father, and not allowed to be outside for four years, hiding in the cellar with other children.
In the final push to get all the Jewish people on the trains to concentration camps, it is indeed a miracle that the children and their families survived the Lodz ghetto.
I have always been fascinated with the period of history. It has been about two month’s but I keep coming back to a scene in which her father had her hide in the cemetery as he did not believe the Germans when they said would keep everyone safe. This book is on the reader’s choice list for my state. I am looking forward to sharing it with my staff and students. I am thankful that Jennifer Roy decided to honor here aunt by writing her story. She almost didn’t, having avoided talking about the Holocaust for years.
Title: Yellow Star
Author: Jennifer Roy
Date Published: April 15, 2006Pages: 242 pages
Reading Level: Ages 9-12
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish ISBN-10: 076145277X
Source of Book: Listened to audio book from public library.
Nonfiction Monday is rounded up at Wrapped in Foil today.