NOTE: Teachers and parents should always use discretion when choosing Holocaust material intended for young children. The following children's bibliography includes both picture books and young-reader chapter books. Please personally preview these titles before you present them to children; do not allow beautiful illustrations and simple language to deceive you about the seriousness of these books' content.


The Hand-Me-Down Horse

The Hand-Me-Down Horse
Written by Marion Hess Pomeranc and illustrated by Joanna Yardley
Library binding: Albert Whitman & Company, $15.95 (ISBN 0807531413)

The War has ended, and David and his family prepare to emigrate to the United States. Waiting is difficult, though, and David amuses himself by taping English words to his wall and dreaming of his new home. One day a mysterious gift is left on David's doorstep: a rocking horse, with a message attached to it. The note explains that the horse is a gift from a child leaving for America; David should enjoy the horse, but when he finally leaves he must pass it on to another child who is waiting to go to America. David and his best friend, Martha--whose family is also waiting to emigrate--dream of their new homes as they ride the toy horse. When the big day arrives and David prepares to leave, he fulfills the note's wish and gives his horse to Martha, who will see him again one day in the United States. Appropriate for second through fourth grades.

Let the Celebrations Begin!

Let the Celebrations Begin!
Written by Margaret Wild and illustrated by Julie Vivas
Paperback: Orchard Books, $6.95 (ISBN 053107076X)
Library binding: Orchard Books, $15.95 (ISBN 0531085376)

The end of World War II is nearing, and Miriam and her friends prepare for liberation. Miriam remembers her childhood bedroom and the toys she had as a child. The small children living in the camp have no memories of their own toys, however; they only remember their lives in the camp. Along with the women of her hut, Miriam sews patchwork toys for the children at night. When the soldiers finally arrive to free them, the celebrations begin: hot chicken soup for everyone and handmade toys for the children. This picture book portrays Miriam and her friends with dignity and hopefulness, and the story of their survival is inspirational. Appropriate for second through fourth grades.

The Lily Cupbard

The Lily Cupboard: A Story of the Holocaust
Written by Shulamith Levey Oppenheim and illustrated by Ronald Himler
Paperback: HarperCollins, $5.95 (ISBN 0064433935)

Miriam is a little girl growing up in the Netherlands during World War II. When Nazi Germany invades Holland, Miriam's family is in great danger. For her own safety, Miriam's parents arrange for her to go into hiding with a farm family. Miriam's special hiding place is a beautiful cupboard that only opens its doors when a lily is pressed on the front of the door. Miriam barely escapes capture when she is late to the lily cupboard after trying to save a favorite rabbit. This is a beautiful picture book that gently recounts the hiding experience and the kindness of strangers during the Holocaust. Appropriate for second through fourth grades.

Passage to Freedom

Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story
Written by Ken Mochizuki and illustrated by Dom Lee
Hardcover: Lee and Low Books, $15.95 (ISBN 1880000490)

Based on a true story. Five year-old Hiroki Sugihara and his family lived in Lithuania during World War II. Sugihara's father served as the Japanese diplomat to Lithuania, and he received orders to deny Polish Jews travel visas to exit the country. After much deliberation, Mr. Sugihara decided to ignore the orders: he handwrote over 10,000 visas for Jews hoping to escape Nazi deportation. Appropriate for third through fifth grades.

The Feather-Bed Journey

The Feather-Bed Journey
Written by Paula Kurzband Feder and illustrated by Stacy Schuett
Paperback: Albert Whitman and Co., $15.95 (ISBN 0807523305).

Recommended by ADL's Dimensions. Rachel and Lewis play tug-of-war with Grandma's feather pillow. When the seams rip and feathers blow away in the wind, the children are surprised at Grandma's panicked attempts to gather the stuffing. At the children's insistence, Grandma explains the story of her childhood and her love for the feather pillow. As a child in a Nazi-built Jewish ghetto in Poland, Grandma and her siblings warmed themselves beneath a feather mattress at night. Her parents arranged for her escape, and she fled to the house of a Christian farmer, who hid her in his basement for two years. Suspicions arose, however, and the farmer sent the little girl to a nearby wood, where she lived with other escapees until she reunited with her mother after the end of the War. Once they reached America, Grandma and her mother sent the farmer a thank-you letter for his help, and he sent them a remnant of their past: a pillow made from the family feather bed. A nice introduction to hiding and rescue. Appropriate for fourth grade.

One Yellow Daffodil

One Yellow Daffodil: A Hanukkah Story
Written by David Adler and illustrated by Lloyd Bloom
Hardcover: Harcourt Brace and Company, $16.00 (ISBN 0152005374).
Paperback: Harcourt Brace and Company, $6.00 (ISBN 0152020942).

Recommended in ADL's Dimensions reading list. Morris Kaplan is an aging Jewish survivor of the Holocaust. His experiences in the Nazi camps left him with many sad feelings, and he no longer takes part in Judaic celebrations. Morris does derive joy and happiness from his flower business, as well as two young children who buy weekly Shabbat bouquets at Morris's store. When the children, Llana and Jonathon Becker, invite Morris to their home for Hanukkah festivities, Morris attends with misgivings. The experience allows Morris to embrace new friends, remember his past and reacquaint himself with the traditions of his religion. Beautiful illustrations. Appropriate for fourth grade.

Number on My Grandfather's Arm

The Number on My Grandfather's Arm
Written by David A. Adler and photographed by Rose Eichenbaum
Hardcover: Union of American Hebrew Congregations Press, $10.95 (ISBN 0807403288)

Every once in a while, the little girl catches a glimpse of a tattooed number on her grandfather's arm. Granddad's long sleeves usually hide it from her view. While washing dishes one day she asks him about it and, with her parent's gentle reassurance, Granddad begins to tell his story to his small granddaughter. He relates his experiences in a way that is gentle and tender, on a level appropriate for a child. Appropriate for fourth and fifth grades.

Number the Stars

Number the Stars
Written by Lois Lowry
Hardcover: Houghton Mifflin Co, $16.00 (ISBN 0395510600).
Paperback: Yearling Books, $5.50 (ISBN 0440403278)

An excellent companion read to The Yellow Star. Lowry's chapter book relates the tale of Annemarie Johansen and Ellen Rosen, ten year-old best friends growing up in Copenhagen, Denmark during World War II. Ellen's family is Jewish; when her parents must flee from approaching Nazi forces, Annemarie's family helps to hide Ellen from soldiers sent to look for her family. Ms. Johansen and the girls travel by train to the Danish coast where Annemarie's uncle, a fisherman and member of the resistance, prepares to smuggle Ellen, her family, and other Danish Jews to safety in Sweden. Based on the rescue of Danish Jews in October 1943, Number the Stars was a Newberry Award winner. Appropriate for fourth and fifth grades.

Hiding From the Nazis
Written by David A. Adler and illustrated by Karen Ritz
Paperback: Holiday House, $15.95 (ISBN 0823412881).

Recommended by The Anti-Defamation League's Holocaust studies journal Dimensions. This is the true story of a four-year-old Dutch girl whose grandfather is arrested by the Nazis in 1943. Lore's parents send her to hide at the home of family friends. Fears of discovery arise, however, and Lore is sent to live with the anti-Nazi Schouten family. Ms. Schouten treats the little girl as one of her own children. When her parents return for her after the war, Lore receives help from Ms. Schouten as she struggles to shift from her surrogate home to life with her own family. Appropriate for fourth grade and up.

Other books that might be used in the classroom include:



Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior
Written by Margot S. Strom
Facing History and Ourselves National Foundation: $24.00 (ISBN 0961584149)
A classroom resource book used in conjunction with the Facing History and Ourselves program. Visit for more information.

Learning About the Holocaust

Learning About the Holocaust: Literature and Other Resources for Young People
Written by Elaine D. Stephens, Jean E. Brown, and Janet E. Rubin
Paperback: Library Professional Publications, $18.50 (ISBN 0208024085)

Explores Holocaust literature for kindergarten through high school students. Offers an annotated bibliography arranged by grade and genre. Draws material wide array of genres including movies, poetry, photo essays, and books.

The Spirit That Moves Us

The Spirit that Moves Us: Grades Kindergarten Through Four
Written by Laura R. Petovello, J.D.
Paperback: Tilbury House Publishers, $19.95(ISBN 0884482049)

This is an excellent classroom resource. It offers lesson plans for commonly used children's Holocaust literature including Number the Stars and One Yellow Daffodil.

Teaching About the Holocaust: A Resource Book for Educators
Produced by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. To order, go to
Offers guidelines for teaching about the Holocaust in the classroom; an annotated bibliography and video list; and a timeline and chronology list of Holocaust and World War II events.

Tell Them We Remember

Tell Them We Remember: The Story of the Holocaust
Written by Susan D. Bachrach
Paperback: Little Brown and Co, $14.95 (ISBN 0316074845)

Produced in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. An invaluable resource that offers thirty chapters covering Hitler's rise to power all the way through the Holocaust. A great deal of the book's information may be found in the Museum. Intended for young adult, but very appropriate for teachers and parents.


Some of these books are out of print. You may be able to find them at your library or through a used bookstore.

The Bitter Years: The Invasion and Occupation of Denmark and Norway, April 1940-May 1945
Written by Richard Petrow
Examines the invasion, occupation, and resistance movements of Denmark and Norway during World War II.

The Holocaust: The Fate of European Jewry, 1932-1945
Written by Leni Yahil
Paperback: Oxford University Press, $25.00 (ISBN 0195045238)
Offers a comprehensive look at the fate of Jews in each European country during the Holocaust.

I Never Saw Another Butterfly

I Never Saw Another Butterfly: Children's Drawings and Poems from Terezin Concentration Camp 1942-1944
Edited by Hana Volavkova
Paperback: Schocken Books, $14.95 (ISBN 0805210156)

Almost 15,000 children under the age of fifteen passed through the gates of Terezin (Terezin is the Czechoslovakian name for the concentration camp known in German as Theresienstadt.) between 1942 and 1944; less than one hundred survived. This is a beautiful collection of poems and drawings created by children in Terezin--a lasting tribute to the children who suffered and survived and to those who did not.

October ’43
Written by Aage Bertelsen
An autobiographical account of the October rescue written by a non-Jewish Dane.

A Rabbi Remembers
Written by Rabbi Melchior.
A personal account written by Rabbi Marcus Melchior, the rabbi of Copenhagen's synagogue at the time of the Jewish rescue.


Rescue: The Story of How Gentiles Saved Jews in the Holocaust
Written by Milton Meltzer
Paperback: HarperCollins, $7.95 (ISBN 0064461173)

Meltzer provides stories of non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews from death in the Holocaust.

The Rescue of the Danish Jews: Moral Courage Under Stress
Edited by Leo Goldberger
Paperback: New York University Press, $22.00 (ISBN 0814730116)
A collection of essays written by internationally-known Jews and non-Jews centered around the 1943 rescue of Danish Jews.

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