Every semester my students are required to read one or more books from a selected list for an outside reading requirement assignment. This year the outside required reading choices have included Common Core text exemplars, graphic novels, and my top picks. For the final out side reading requirement I have teamed up with my social studies teachers to create a book list filled with reading selections about the Holocaust and World War II. Students are currently studying this time period in their history class.
When I shared the book list and assignment with my students I told them that there is still genocide and hate crimes happening in our world today. We must learn from history in order to make a better present and future for everyone. We can never forget what happened in our world during this time.
Following this assignment, and on the cusp of the Passover and Easter holiday, three people were murdered in a suspected hate crime in Kansas City. Lewis Corporon, a retired physician and his fourteen year old grandson were killed in the parking lot of the Jewish Community Center. Terri LaManno, a mother of two was shot and killed in the parking lot at a Jewish assisted living facility where she was visiting her mother. The suspected shooter is Fraizer Glenn Miller/ Fraizer Glenn Cross, a founder of the White Patriot Party in the 1980s and active member the Klu Klux Klan. Hate still exists today and even leads to violence as with this tragic event.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum states that it is important to teach the Holocaust because studying the Holocaust helps students to:
Understand the roots and ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping in any society.
Develop an awareness of the value of pluralism and an acceptance of diversity.
Explore the dangers of remaining silent, apathetic, and indifferent to the oppression of others.
Think about the use and abuse of power as well as the roles and responsibilities of individuals, organizations, and nations when confronted with civil rights violations and/or policies of genocide.
Understand how a modern nation can utilize its technological expertise and bureaucratic infrastructure to implement destructive policies ranging from social engineering to genocide.
There are amazing resources to help teach the Holocaust in your classroom. The United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC and the educational organization Facing History and Ourselves have an abundance of lesson plans and primary documents to utilize in the classroom.
Below is the book list that I gave to my students.
Please note, this book list could have been about twenty pages, but there were certain books that I left off the list because they are required reading in high school (Night and The Book Thief) or they have been adapted into movies (The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas).