The Librarian of Auschwitz -- Nonfiction Graphic Novel Perfect for Women's History Month & More


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

On the news last week while I was on vacation in Florida, I heard about an arrest of a New Jersey man who threatened a kill a Florida sheriff after he publicly denounced hate groups and antisemitic groups after white supremacists were recording holding antisemitic signs over a speedway here in Florida. Swastikas were also found as graffiti in a local school. (Source) It amazes me in this day and age how much antisemitism there still is. The Holocaust ended 78 years ago! We need to educate ourselves and our youth about the truth of the Holocaust so it won't be repeated. Today I am sharing a new nonfiction graphic novel about a brave woman who survived being in Auschwitz. The book is The Librarian of Auschwitz based on a novel by Antonio Iturbe, adapted by Salva Rubio and translated by Lilit Zekulin Thwaites and illustrated by Loreto Aroca. It is recommended for ages 8 to 12.

From the Publisher:

Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this graphic novel tells the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.

Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the TerezĂ­n ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.

Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.

From Me:

As we move further and further away from the Holocaust more and more survivors are passing away and their memories need to be saved and shared, so we do not repeat this awful time in history. Antonio Iturbe interviewed Dita Kraus for his novel also called The Librarian of Auschwitz. Therefore, this graphic novel which is based off of Antonio's novel is based off Dita's own words. It is telling her story and it is reaching a younger level of reader. Antonio's novel is recommended for ages 13 to 17. 

The story begins before the family is forced into the ghetto and then Auschwitz. It shares the fears and the unknown. The families expected to die at Auschwitz, but Dita's family was lucky to land in block 31 which kept families together with their own clothes and more as a show for the outside world. There is so much packed into this graphic novel about the war as well as life in Auschwitz. 

It does a great job of explaining the various atrocities of the treatment of the Jewish people during this time. From how they were forced out of their homes to the degrading way they were treated. It is the perfect addition for a study of World War II to any middle grades class as well as for a high school class looking for an easy read.  

At the end of the book is a historical dossier written by Salva Rubio. It shares some of the real details about how the authors used Antonio Itrube's story and then had to make adjustments to create the story in graphic novel form. It goes through various historical periods in the book from the Nazis in Czechoslovakia to Fredy Hirsch who is a leader in block 31 and also rumored as a homosexual. He helped create block 31 and a place where Jewish children could still continue to exercise, study and take part in cultural activities. The back of the book also shares about Josef Mengele and finally to the liberation. There is even a page showing the storyboard of the book going from words to graphic novel.  

I found the book to be a quick read. It was interesting and pulled me into the story and wanting to know what happened to Dita and her family. It is not a happy story but is based on true events that need to be remembered and learned from. I hope you will check out this very important book and add it to your library.