Monday, March 16, 2015

Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy

I am so happy that we got to continue reading historical fiction this week! Not only was I excited that Jennifer Roy's Yellow Star was about WWII & the Holocaust, but I was especially interested in this story because the young girl in the story settled in Rochester after the war. So often when we think about this time period, we think of it happening so far away. That the story takes place somewhere where it could never impact us. But, Roy's book is a perfect example of how history continues to persist through the people who experienced the events of the past and that their stories can travel and have an impact wherever they go. It makes me wonder just how many people in the Rochester area have similar experiences as Roy's aunt, and what their stories may be.

One thing I really liked about this book was how the beginning of each part gave some historical information and set the scene in an understandable and natural way. For a younger reader, this provides them with the background information and historical facts necessary to understand this time. However, I found it helpful to also consider what was going on in Syvia's world at this time and to get a better understanding of why she was experiencing and feeling the things that she did. I think that if the author had not provided this context, the story would be less fluid and understandable. Although it did interrupt the free verse, it was a purposeful and necessary interruption that helped with my own understanding and appreciation of the story.

As I was reading, I could not turn off my "teacher brain" and I kept thinking about how awesome it was that this book could be read by younger readers. Often, the topic of WWII and the Holocaust is reserved for older students. Roy's book, however, makes the topic an accessible one for students that provides them with historical information and an understanding of what it was like to live through this time. I will be adding this book to my personal library and hopefully it will be an addition to my classroom one day.

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