Late Elementary (Grades 3 – 5)
I Wanted to Fly Like a Butterfly is a tender account of the Holocaust through the eyes of a young survivor, and is aimed at grades 3-4. Hanna Gofrit recalls her childhood in Poland and tells how her life dramatically changed when the Nazi soldiers occupied her country. Hanna lived to tell the story thanks to a brave Polish family who sheltered Hanna and her mother for two years until the end of the war.
The book itself is designed with color-coded pages to help teachers focus on a variety of concepts. You can decide which units within the book you want to focus on, which you want to read but not comment on, and which can be skipped. Important note: Although the book presents Hanna’s life starting at a young age, we recommend you start with the final pages, which discuss Hanna as an adult in Israel. This allows the students to follow the story without worrying about whether Hanna will survive.
The third grade teacher at one congregation had her students make a megillah out of this book. Read her description here.
Children in the Ghetto is an interactive website written for children. It portrays life during the Holocaust from the viewpoint of children who lived in the ghetto. At the same time, it attempts to make the complex experience of life in the ghetto as accessible as possible to today’s children.
Along with the description of the hardships of ghetto life, the website presents the courage, steadfastness, and creativity involved in the children’s lives. One of the most important messages to be learned is that despite the hardships, there were those who struggled to care for one another and to continue a cultural and spiritual life.
At the center of this site is an imaginary representation of a street in the ghetto. The site invites children to “move around the street” and “enter” various locations in it. In each of the locations, original exhibits such as video testimonies, photographs, paintings, and artifacts are accompanied by interactive activities.
You can find the following at the Children in the Ghetto website:
Note that you have to allow Flash Player in order for the street to work.
The Daughter We Had Always Wanted is the story of Marta, a young Jewish child who lived in Czortkow, Poland. At the age of eight, Marta was sent by her mother to live under an assumed identity with a non-Jewish family in Warsaw who risked their lives to protect her. After the Holocaust, Marta immigrated to Israel and began to rebuild her life despite various hardships. Today, Marta Goren is a great-grandmother who lives in Rehovot, Israel. In this age-appropriate memoir, Marta recalls her childhood experiences before, during, and after the Holocaust. Marta includes her address in the memoir and encourages students to write to her. You can take advantage of this as an extension activity for this book.
This story opens the idea of children in hiding and the difficulties of living under an assumed identity. When the war ends, Marta finds it difficult to return to her old identity. For older students, these pages could lead to an interesting discussion of their Jewish identity and how they feel about it.
Fragments is the story of three siblings sent on the Kindertransport to find safety in England, far from their parents. Author Naomi Shmuel wrote Fragments based on the experiences of her mother, the author and poet Karen Gershon. When read together as a class, this story introduces students to the Kindertransport and the difficulties faced by children having to leave their parents to find safety. This story is good for students in grade 5 and older.