Below is an annotated list of children's literature for the elementary classroom. The books are organized by the Six Elements of Social Justice Curriculum Design (Picower, 2007). It is based on work by pre-service teachers at Montclair State University. They have read and reviewed these books and provided insights into how they can be used in K-5 settings.
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Illustrator: Marc Lizano
Summary: The comic book "Hidden" written by Loic Dauvillier, takes the reader on an emotional journey through an outsiders view of the Holocaust. The book begins with a young girl overhearing her grandmother (Dounia) suffer from a nightmare. After checking on her, her grandmother tells her the story of her life as a young Jewish girl in Germany during Adolf Hitler's rise. The grandmother explains in a child friendly way how Nazis came to her house while she hid in the closet in a large dresser, took her parents, and how she was left alone in the closet until her downstairs neighbor came. Dounia is forced to then escape and changed her name to Simone (a non-Jewish name) as her and her neighbor escape to a farm with a sweet elderly woman as they practiced Catholicism. It turns out that her neighbor and the elderly woman are both fighters in the resistance. By the end of the book, Dounia returns back to her old apartment with her caretaker where the caretaker's husband had located Dounia's mother. Her mother is returned with close to no hair, in a striped jumpsuit, extremely thin, and wide-eyed. Although the father had died in the Holocaust, the reunification of Dounia and her mother was made even more beautiful with the gift of a new apartment.
Element 3: Exploring Issues of Social Injustice
Through this heartfelt book, students are able to read this book as both a read aloud with the class as well as an independent read. The comic style makes it an easier read as it educates students on the reality of the Holocaust. It shows how unfairly Dounia was treated once her peers, teacher, and community found out that she was Jewish which puts on emphasis on the inhumane treatment. Although it doesn't word for word mention genocide or gas chambers, it shows through illustrations and speech bubbles the effect of those who did come back (Dounia's mother and the listing the visited of the survivors), as well as the many who were murdered (Dounia's father). Through this book, students are able to grasp and get an introduction into post War World I for Germans and more specifically Jewish people.
How I Would Use, "Hidden": I currently student teach a fifth grade Language Arts and Social Studies class, and I think that my class would really enjoy this book. We are currently on the topic of the Holocaust, and I think this book would clear up a lot of confusion of the day to day life as a Jewish child who was forced to conform for my students. However, for my particular class I would do a read aloud and ask them critical thinking questions along the way. I think that they could benefit greatly from a collaborative discussion and reflection. I would follow up with this by having them make a timeline of events that happen in the book (by giving them a list and having them place it in order), only because this book is so jammed packed with important events and information.