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The librarian of Auschwitz
2017
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Summary

Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is 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 Terezín 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.

This title has Common Core connections.

Godwin Books

Trade Reviews
School Library Journal Review
Gr 8 Up-Based on the true story of Holocaust survivor Dita Kraus, this novel features a protagonist who exemplifies courage in the face of death. Fourteen-year-old Dita is imprisoned at Auschwitz along with her mother and father in the "family camp." Her work assignment is to assist the Jewish leader in charge of Block 31, a section created to entertain the children so that their family can work. This block has many secrets, but the most important is that eight books were smuggled in by Jewish prisoners. Dita has been entrusted with their care, making her "the Librarian of Auschwitz." As time passes on, she becomes aware that Dr. Mengele has taken an interest in her, and while she is terrified that "Doctor Death" is paying attention to her, she finds the courage to protect her books, family, and friends at all costs. Throughout, well-known Nazi leaders and lesser-known Jewish heroes play pivotal roles, making the connection with the historical elements of the horrors of Auschwitz, and later Bergen-Belsen more credible and relatable. Despite being a fictional retelling of a true story, this novel is one that could easily be recommended or taught alongside Elie Wiesel's Night and The Diary of Anne Frank and a text that, once read, will never be forgotten. VERDICT A hauntingly authentic Holocaust retelling; a must for YA collections.-Stephanie Wilkes, Good Hope Middle School, West Monroe, LA © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Most people know something of Auschwitz's horrors: disease and starvation; grotesque medical experiments; profound debasement of human life; and, of course, the terrible Final Solution. Iturbe's astonishing novel spares readers none of the details of these abominations, but its focus is on the relatively unknown family camp located at Auschwitz, which featured a school for the children. Dita Adlerova is the main storyteller, a teenage girl asked to serve as librarian for the school's contraband collection of eight books. Her reverence for her role and for the transformative power of the books in her care imbues Iturbe's story with a mystical quality that is in sharp contrast with the everyday torture of survival. There are other stories intertwined with Dita's, such as that of the charismatic young Fredi Hirsch, burdened by his attraction to other boys, and the hapless SS officer Viktor Pestek, in love with a beautiful Jewish girl. The novel was originally published in Spanish in 2012, and this translation, by Thwaites, captures both the transcendence of Dita's story and the deeply disturbing reality of the concentration camps. Like Markus Zusak's The Book Thief (2006), it's a sophisticated novel with mature themes, delivering an emotionally searing reading experience. An important novel that will stand with other powerful testaments from the Holocaust era.--Colson, Diane Copyright 2017 Booklist
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