One Tennessee school district's ban on the Holocaust graphic novel Maus has spurred a nationwide conversation about Holocaust education. The Pulitzer Prize-winning book describes author Art Spiegelman's relationship with his father, a Holocaust survivor, by depicting Jewish people as mice and Nazis as cats. The school board reportedly objected to eight curse words and nude imagery of a woman.
Many groups have criticized the ban, and the author himself told NPR that the decision is "not good for their children, even if they think it is."
Here are five children's books about the Holocaust to educate yourself and others.
'The Cats in Krasinski Square' by Karen Hesse with art by Wendy Watson
Written by Newbery Medalist Karen Hesse, The Cats in Krasinski Square was inspired by an article Hesse read about cats out-foxing the Gestapo at a train station in Warsaw. The story is about a Jewish girl and her sister in Poland during World War II. After escaping the ghetto, the sisters plan to help Jewish Resistance fighters smuggle food to those still imprisoned with a little help from the cats of Krasinski Square.
'What the Night Sings' by Vesper Stamper
After losing her family in the Nazi concentration camps, Gerta is liberated but alone. In the displaced persons camp where she is staying, Gerta meets Lev, a fellow teen survivor. The story follows Gerta learning to rebuild her life after the horrors she's experienced, including revisiting her love for music and her Jewish heritage. What the Night Sings was nominated for a Morris Award in 2018.
'Anna and the Swallow Man' by Gavriel Savit
Anna and the Swallow Man follows 7-year-old Anna, whose father is taken by the Germans from their Krakow home for being a linguistics professor. Shortly after being orphaned, Anna encounters the Swallow Man, who is also a man of many languages: Polish, Russian, German, Yiddish, even Bird. Together, they travel through the wilderness to escape the violence threatening Anna's home.
'Benno and the Night of Broken Glass' by Meg Wiviott with art by Josée Bisaillon
Wiviott's Benno and the Night of Broken Glass captures the horrors of Kristallnacht from the perspective of Benno, a neighborhood cat. Benno lives in Berlin, in the Mitte neighborhood surrounding the majestic Neue Synagogue on Oranienburger Strasse where Jewish and non-Jewish families live together. When his evening routine is disrupted by the events of Kristallnacht, Benno and the residents of Oranienburger Strasse are forever changed.
'Hidden: A Child's Story of the Holocaust' by Loïc Dauvillier with art by Marc Lizano and Greg Salsedo
Hidden: A Child's Story of the Holocaust is narrated by Dounia, a grandmother, who 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.