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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I am kind of in shock...

One of my students came to me asking for books. Now, this is not a newsworthy or unusual occurance, but the story she told about why she wanted the books is still shocking to me.

This 8th grader had just finished listening to my book talks that accompany the "Survival" Unit reading project and was very interested in books about the Holocaust. (By the way, this is probably because our school is the only school in the country that does NOT study The Diary of Anne Frank...don't get me started on that. And yes, I am shocked by that). Anyway, I digress...

Said 8th grader went home over the weekend and was having a conversation with her mom about the Holocaust. (This is everything that we hope kids do about books and subjects they are interested in)! The discussion turned to Nazi experimentation on Jews and she decided that she wanted to know more. So, she went to our local public library over the weekend and asked for books about Nazi experimentation during the Holocaust. She was told, "you probably shouldn't be reading about that," and the person at the reference desk wouldn't help her find any books on the subject.

AAAAH! Having worked for almost 7 years in the public library before moving to school libraries, this REALLY shocks me. I am still in awe about the entire exchange, and am hoping that it was a misunderstanding!

By the way, on Monday when she told me about this, I made sure she checked out our copy of Surviving the Angel of Death: The story of a Mengele twin in Auschwitz. Which, I must add, the local library owns, and shelves in their Young Adult Biography section.

At least I got to be the hero in this story! In talking about this experience with several non-librarian friends, it is good to know that they were as shocked as I was.


Midnight Bloom said...

It's always wonderful to hear when someone takes an interest in something they've learned in class and becomes interested n learning more. My school never studied The Diary of Anne Frank either. (Maybe it's different here in Canada for some of the literature we study?)

That's kind of saddening to hear that the librarian wouldn't help her find some books though...

I have a recommendation for her too! It's called "The Greenies" by Myra Paperny. It's a fictional account - but it's based on real life experiences - about a small group of Jewish teens who survive the concentration camps and are sent to Canada to live in foster families. It's a YA book I remember reading when I was around her age that I also really enjoyed. :)

Caroline Starr Rose said...

I'm shocked, too. Hard to believe a librarian wouldn't want to help a child interested in learning.


When did the librarian at the public library decide it was her responsibility to decide what an
8th grader should and shouldn't read. Was their prejudice involved? I think you should call over there as one librarian to another and ask what's going on! That's like censorship. This is a public library. She was there to help the girl find whatever she needed. The woman is clearly not doing her job.

I'm glad you had a good time on your trip and got some great books! You already have the sequel to 13 Little Blue Envelopes and my copy is sitting waiting to be read. I'll get to it soon. I'd love to have been there with you. Don't you feel like those books are Gold? I sure would. I love new books!

Have fun reading and sharing!

Buried in Books

Alison said...

I didn't study the Diary of Anne Frank in school. Actually, I don't remember reading any Holocaust books in school although we definitely learned about it.
I read a lot of holocaust fiction on my own. My favorite was Upstairs Room.

What a horrible public librarian. Sounds like something that would happen in the 50s.


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