Saturday, April 5, 2008

Always Remember Me

Russo, Marisabina. Always Remember Me.

It is hard to find books--particularly picture books--about the Holocaust and World War II that are appropriate for young audiences. ALWAYS REMEMBER ME: HOW ONE FAMILY SURVIVED WORLD WAR II is a great find indeed!

ALWAYS REMEMBER ME is a story within a story. Oma is sharing her family history with her young granddaughter, Rachel, as the two look through two photo albums. One photo album contains pictures of her life in Poland and Germany. These photos contain pictures that evoke happy memories of the grandmother's life (her childhood, her marriage, her motherhood)...but some of the later pictures in the book evoke sad memories of what happened when the Nazis took control of Germany. Fortunately, Oma and two of her daughters survive concentration camp (her oldest daughter had immigrated to America). The second photo album contains pictures of the family once they have moved to America to start their new lives.

The endpapers are designed as a scrapbook/photo album. Black and white photos (also sepia-toned photos) line the endpapers with white cursive captions identifying the people, places, and ages of the photographic subjects.

There is a five word glossary identifying Yiddish and German words used in the picture book, and there is a two-page afterward summarizing briefly Hitler's rise to power and the Holocaust.

In addition to being a great story/introduction to the Holocaust, I enjoy the celebration of family that ALWAYS REMEMBER ME embodies. It is a great story about how important it is to pass down family stories and keepsakes. I love the bond between Rachel and her grandmother.

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