10 Books About The Holocaust For Teens – It’s May 1940 and tragedy has just begun to take place in Auschwitz, Germany. A Tragedy that struck many lives, leaving behind millions and millions of stories to be told. Stories, unlike anything you’ve ever read before. The Holocaust was a time of great sadness and loss, where millions of people were killed simply because they were Jewish.
If you’re looking for books to help your teen understand the Holocaust and its effects on the world today, here are 10 Books About The Holocaust For Teens to get started. Each of these books offers a unique perspective on this dark period in history, and will help your teen learn more about one of the worst atrocities in human history.
The UpStairs Room | Johanna Reiss
When the German army occupied Holland in 1940, Annie was only eight years old. Because she was Jewish, the occupation put her in grave danger. Most people thought the war wouldn’t last long, but Annie knew that if she wanted to stay alive, she would have to go into hiding.
Fortunately, a Gentile family, the Oostervelds, offered refuge to Annie and her older sister, Sini. For two years they hid in the cramped upstairs room of the Oostervelds’s remote farmhouse. There, Annie and Sini would struggle to hold on to hope—separated from their family and confined to one tiny room—as a frightful and seemingly endless war raged on outside their window.
This classic autobiographical novel is a strong choice for classroom sharing and independent reading.
The Endless Steppe: Growing Up in Siberia | Esther Rudomin Hautzig
In June 1941, the Rudomin family was arrested by the Russians. They are accused of being capitalists, “enemies of the people.” Forced from their home and friends in Vilna, Poland, they are herded into crowded cattle cars. Their destination: the endless steppe of Siberia.
For five years, Esther and her family live in exile, weeding potato fields, working in the mines, and struggling to stay alive. But in the middle of hardship and oppression, the strength of their small family sustains them and gives them hope for the future.
The Devil’s Arithmetic | Jane Yolen
Hannah is tired of holiday gatherings−all her family ever talks about is the past. In fact, it seems to her that’s what they do every Jewish holiday. But this year’s Passover Seder will be different−Hannah will be mysteriously transported into the past . . . and only she knows the unspeakable horrors that await.
Milkweed | Jerry Spinelli
He’s a boy called Jew. Gypsy. Stopthief. Filthy son of Abraham.
He’s a boy who lives in the streets of Warsaw. He’s a boy who steals food for himself, and the other orphans. He’s a boy who believes in bread, mothers, and angels.
He’s a boy who wants to be a Nazi, with tall, shiny jackboots of his own until the day that suddenly makes him change his mind. And when the trains come to empty the Jews from the ghetto of the damned, he’s a boy who realizes it’s safest of all to be nobody.
Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli takes us to one of the most devastating settings imaginable-Nazi-occupied Warsaw during World War II-and tells a tale of heartbreak, hope, and survival through the bright eyes of a young Holocaust orphan.
Diary of a Young Girl | Anne Frank
In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annex” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death. In her diary, Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and amusing, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.
The Book Thief | Marcus Zusak
When Death has a story to tell, you listen. It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier and will become busier still.
Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.
In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.
When the World Was Ours | Liz Kessler
Three friends. One memory. Vienna. 1936. Three young friends—Leo, Elsa, and Max—spend a perfect day together, unaware that around them Europe is descending into darkness and that they will soon be cruelly ripped apart from one another. With their lives taking them across Europe—to Germany, England, Prague, and Poland—will they ever find their way back to one another? Will they want to?
Inspired by a true story, When the World Was Ours is an extraordinary novel that is as powerful as it is heartbreaking and that shows how the bonds of love, family, and friendship allow glimmers of hope to flourish, even in the most hopeless of times
I Am Defiance: A Novel of WWII | Jenni L. Walsh
Jenni L. Walsh delivers a gripping story about a real-life youth resistance group in World War II Germany, and about the power of thinking for yourself in the fight against hatred.
Brigitte tries not to ask questions. They don’t seem very welcome at her League of German Girls meetings, where she and her friends learn about their duties to Hitler’s war effort.
But she can’t help asking questions when a mysterious pamphlet appears in her mailbox: a pamphlet full of words like resistance and freedom, from a group that calls itself the White Rose. Brigitte’s father and older sister, Angelika, seem to agree with the forbidden papers — an opinion that is dangerous even to whisper at home. And when Angelika becomes involved with secret resistance efforts, Brigitte’s questions only bloom.
Could Angelika be connected to the White Rose? Is Brigitte’s family in danger of being arrested? And if she chooses aside, will Brigitte be able to take a stand?
Signs of Survival: A Memoir of the Holocaust | Renee Hartman
Meet Renee and Herta, two sisters who faced the unimaginable — together. This is their true story.
As Jews living in 1940s Czechoslovakia, Renee, Herta, and their parents were in immediate danger when the Holocaust came to their door. As the only hearing person in her family, Renee had to alert her parents and sister whenever the sound of Nazi boots approached their home so they could hide.
But soon their parents were tragically taken away, and the two sisters went on the run, desperate to find a safe place to hide. Eventually they, too, would be captured and taken to the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen. Communicating in sign language and relying on each other for strength in the midst of illness, death, and starvation, Renee and Herta would have to fight to survive the darkest of times.
This gripping memoir, told in a vivid “oral history” format, is a testament to the power of sisterhood and love, and now more than ever a reminder of how important it is to honor the past, and keep telling our own stories.
The Holocaust is something that I hope we never forget. I believe books hold so many raw moments over what actually happened back then. From 1 book to 10, many different emotions and information can come to life with just reading alone. I hope these 10 books help your teens remember this staple in world history. Which one will become their favorite?