A carefully nonexplicit lead-in to a discussion of the Holocaust with young children, with photo-collage illustrations made of artifacts from Terezín.
A child—at least a supposed one—narrates (sample line: “There’s a kind of quiet in Grandma and Grandpa’s house. It’s the silence of people who come from a faraway world—a vanished world that still lives in memories”). He recalls playing with the crayons and antique toys in his loving grandfather’s desk. One day he discovers the key to a desk drawer that is always locked. Grandpa has a strong reaction when he sees the boy holding a yellow Star of David patch. Recovering, he sits down to describe how the Nazis first sent Jews to ghettos and later split up families and sent them away, never to be reunited. Gatherings of antique photos, childhood drawings and toys in the first part give way to close-up views of a battered rag doll, a striped uniform, homemade dominoes and other memorabilia arranged as if in a just-opened drawer. “I asked…so many questions,” the narrator concludes. “I never knew that Grandpa was such a brave kid.”
The story is obviously purposive, but as discussion starters go, it’s certainly a good choice. (Picture book. 6-9)