Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen

The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen

Hannah is visiting her grandparents during Passover in 1988 America, wishing that she could be like her best friend Rosemary and eat candies at this time of year. Instead, she's tired of remembering the past and listening to her family talk about their experiences during the war. While performing one of the rituals of Passover, Hannah opens the front door and is transported back in time to 1942. She is called Chaya, which is her name in native tongue. She is now part of a new family, her parents supposedly died from sickness. Her uncle is getting married the next day and as the wedding makes its procession to the church, Nazis are in front of the church. The tell everyone that Jews are being relocated and to follow them. They aren't given a choice. The whole village is crowded in to a train and taken to Auschwitz.

Hannah lives through the horrors of Auschwitz and slowly forgets her role in the future. The tale is one we've all heard before but this doesn't make it any less of a travesty. This is supposed to be a children's book and I think it's a pretty good way of introducing what happened during the Holocaust to children 10 or so years of age.

First Line: "'I'm tired of remembering,' Hannah said to her mother as she climbed into the car."


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