Elementary | Tweens + Teens | Kids + Media

Teaching the Tough Things: Kids' Books on the Holocaust, Apartheid and Slavery




Benno and the Night of Broken Glass 

By Meg Wivioitt (age 6 and up)

Benno, a ginger cat, belongs to everyone and yet to no one. He is a street cat who leads a routine cat life following the daughters of the Adler and Schmidt families to school, getting scraps from Moshe the local butcher and enjoying gentle ear rubs from Frau Gerber, the grocer’s wife. One night Benno hears glass shattering and people screaming in terror and smells heavy smoke that burns his eyes. In the morning he realizes that everything has changed and life as he knew does not exist anymore. Benno’s observation of Kristallnacht, (the Night of Broken Glass), that many believe to be the start of Holocaust, is an innocent, non-judgmental perception of the events which lead him to realize that something’s wrong without actually knowing the reason behind it or more importantly, why it is happening.

As Benno sees changes to certain homes and families (Jewish families) and none in other homes, the book helps open a discussion with childrenThe book concludes with a list of other resources on the subject, mostly picture books should you want to discuss the subject further.

                                                                                                  Next: Terrible Things: An Allegory of the Holocaust

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