The reality of having to hide Jews to spare them from being victims of the Holocaust is a tragic one, but one with which every young teen is familiar due to the legacy of Anne Frank’s diary.
My Mother’s Secret: A Novel Based on a True Holocaust Story is set in Poland. Helena begins the account by sharing her own story. Of course her mother Franciszka figures into it. As Helena grows her mother’s positive influence on her is evident.
The story is then taken up by Bronek, a Jew who escapes the walled-off ghetto, then Mikolaj, a young Jewish boy whose father is a doctor, and then Vilheim, a German soldier, and finally wrapped up again by Helena.
The different perspectives read like short stories. This is in fact a very short novel, less than 200 pages which includes very short chapters (less than one page). It’s also a simple novel with simple poetic phrasing. It reads almost as if it was translated from another language, which somehow makes the story seem more authentic.
The story of the Holocaust is one that we must never forget. As we remember the hideous actions of a few powerful people and those who went along with it — willingly or not so much — we must remember those like Franciszka who refused to go along with it, and those families like the others featured in this novel, who fought for themselves.
Enter to win
My Mother’s Secret is a story that you could share with your family (even older elementary school kids probably), especially since the emphasis isn’t on death but on the struggle and the contribution of one brave woman. Enter to win a copy by leaving a comment telling me if there’s a holocaust story you’ve watched or read that has left a lasting impact. I love both the Book Thief (book and movie) and the movie Life is Beautiful.
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I have read many books on The Holocaust and all of them are memorable, unforgettable, heartbreaking and emotional. Far To Go by Alison Pick was all of these and more. Many thanks. This book would be greatly enjoyed since I am Jewish.
I love Number the Stars.
me, too! it was the first book i read on the topic – 4th grade – and it has always stuck with me.
Diary of ann Frank any of Eli weasels heart wrenching books.
Angela Saver says
I really enjoyed Diary of Ann Frank! Really recommend it!
Stacie Gorkow says
Don’t enter to me. I just read this book too and I loved it. A really special story about true generosity. I will never forget THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS and I really loved THE STORYTELLER by Jodi Picoult and SARAH’S KEY by Tatiana de Rosnay is another one you can’t forget.
I didn’t know Jodi Picoult had tackled this theme as well. Thanks for the recommendation.
i forgot about sarah’s key for just a moment until you mentioned it. i read that a few years ago. WOW. another one that broke my heart. 🙁
Linda Kish says
Schindler’s List was the movie that impacted me the most.
Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl has always touched my heart.
Liza Vladyka says
dairy of anne frank and number the stars also watched 2 shows on netflix but dont remember names
Heather B says
The first to come to mind is definitely Anne Frank
I read Escape from Auschwitz is a great fictional account of the Holocaust.
michelle koerner says
the first one that comes to mind is anne frank. but, my father is german, born in germany and he has some stories to tell. he came over here as a child, however his parents and grandparents remained in germany.
The devils arithmetic has alway left an impact on my students. Personally, I love Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, as well as Night and Schindler’s List.
I recently read the story of my friend, Hanna Zack Miley, A Garland for Ashes: World War II, the Holocaust, and One Jewish Survivor’s Long Journey to Forgiveness (2013). Very well written, and especially meaningful because I know Hanna and her husband George.
Emily Smith says
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
oh! that is a great one. i was unsure about seeing the movie because i didn’t want to be annoyed, but the movie was very close!
amy tolley says
i love to read true story books they are the best i love the anne frank book and so many more books about the holacoust…thanks for this chance
amy tolley says
i entered the stanley the builder book giveaway thanks
It is too upsetting to me to read the books about it. My daughter however is really interested in it. She recently read Night by Elie Wiesel. I’d like a chance at winning this to give to her. She doesn’t like to read or school for that matter, one of the only topics she is very interested in.
I’m really interested in hearing stories about that time. I enjoyed Anne frank and loved Schindlers list!
Anita Yancey says
The one that comes to my mind the most is The Diary of Anne Frank. I have seen the movie many times. Thanks for having the giveaway.
i recently read ‘the book thief’ – it’s been sitting on my shelf for 6 years. it’s awesome. i shouldn’t have waited so long. right now i’m reading ‘the storyteller’ by jodi picoult which is fantastic, too! it intertwines so many stories. i highly recommend it. i read a lot of WWII stories.
Julie Smith says
I read The Diary of Anne Frank in elementary school and was extremely moved by it; this was also the first play that I saw in community theater. When my daughters were young, I tried my best to teach them about the horrible effects of intolerance, and “Schindler’s List” was a movie that greatly impacted them. My middle daughter introduced me to “A Beautiful Life” and I cried .. a lot. And my youngest daughter was greatly influenced by “The Book Thief”
Kerrie Mayans says
The boy in the striped pajamas had a real impact on me and on my tween daughter.
Angel Wells says
I read The Book Thief recently and watched the boy in the striped pajamas. I also have the storyteller by Jodi Picoult but haven’t read it yet.