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Companion Reads


The Book ThiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement. 2006 Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book of the Year and New York Times bestseller.

Historical Fiction genre




The Berlin Boxing ClubThe Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow

This story follows aspiring cartoonist Karl, a 14-year-old Jewish boy in 1930s Berlin who is on the receiving end of beatings from his Aryan classmates (Karl's cartoons and comics appear throughout). His father's friend, boxing champion Max Schmeling, agrees to train Karl as a boxer so that he can defend himself and his younger sister, Hildy. As the Nazi regime gains power and influence, it becomes clear that Germany will eventually not be safe for Karl and his family. Over the course of a few years, Karl craves the freedom of moving to America, falls in love with his Catholic neighbor, Greta, and meets a cross-dressing homosexual called the Countess, forcing Karl to confront his own prejudices. Sharenow examines racism through the eyes of both children and real historical figures.  2012 Sydney Taylor Book Award winner.

Historical Fiction genre


JUVENILE READER (5th grade and up)

Anne FrankAnne Frank:  Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank's remarkable diary has since become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit. In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the "Secret Annex" of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death. In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and amusing, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.  YALSA Best Books for Young Adults.

Autobiography genre


Number the StarsNumber the Stars by Lois Lowry

As the German troops begin their campaign to "relocate" all the Jews of Denmark, Annemarie Johansen’s family takes in Annemarie’s best friend, Ellen Rosen, and conceals her as part of the family.

Through the eyes of ten-year-old Annemarie, we watch as the Danish Resistance smuggles almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark, nearly seven thousand people, across the sea to Sweden. The heroism of an entire nation reminds us that there was pride and human decency in the world even during a time of terror and war. 1990 Newbery Medal award winner.

Historical Fiction genre




Dreaming UpDreaming Up: A Celebration of Building written and illustrated by Christy Hale

Poetry combined with images illustrates how children’s play influences the creative process as it pertains to the buildings we inhabit and will inspire readers to dream big.  Includes biographies of notable architects from around the world, quotations, and sources.  2013 American Library Association (ALA) Notable Children's Book award.





The Black BookThe Black Book of Colors written by Menena Cottin and illustrated by Rosana Faria

Not everyone sees the world the same way. For Thomas, who is visually impaired, color is something more powerful than for most. For him, color is something you can hear and smell and touch and taste. This incredible book uses raised line drawings and Braille letters to help sighted readers to understand how Thomas sees the world. The pages in this book are black, but the intricate designs in shiny raised black on the matt pages, along with the most visual of written descriptions ensures that this book is a riot of color, told through the power of language and illustration.