Monday, July 18, 2016

Jars of Hope

One of the things I love about researching children's books is I'm always learning new things. I came across Jars of Hope: How One Woman Helped Save 2,500 Children During the Holocaust while trying to find more age appropriate WW II literature for children. The Holocaust is troubling to read about at any age, but for younger children it can be even more difficult to explain. The author tackled a very challenging topic providing age appropriate explanations without losing historical accuracy.

I'd never heard of Irena Sendler prior to reading Jars of Hope. She was part of the Polish underground in WW II after getting involved with rescuing children from the Warsaw ghetto. Her hope was to reunite the children she placed in safety with their families after the war, so she kept records which were eventually buried in jars to avoid detection. Sadly, for most reunification was not a possibility. However, the documentation she kept did provide the children with the knowledge of their birth names and the names of their parents.

The book does a good job of documenting Ms. Sendler's war time activities and the punishments received for those activities. It also discusses the recognition and rewards given to her after the war for the great risks she took in saving the children she could reach. As with any books on sensitive issues I always suggest parents or teachers preview prior to sharing with children. It is always best to be prepared.

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