The Crystal Beads, Lalka's Journey Published by Purple Butterfly Press on June 14, 2022
Source: Childrens Book Review Tour
Genres: Juvenile Fiction / Historical / Holocaust, Juvenile Fiction / Religious / Jewish, Juvenile Fiction / Social Themes / Religion & Faith
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A Star of David necklace or a rosary?
In 1939 Poland, a young girl is asked to give up one of these and accept the other without understanding why. However, what she must part with happens to be her most prized possession--a precious gift given to her by her father before he died.
The child's mother then teaches the girl a game to prepare her for what is to come. As the Nazis invade the country, the mother is forced to make a heartbreaking sacrifice.
This beautifully illustrated picture book is loosely based on a true story. Although told through the eyes of a young girl, the book is written for readers of all ages. It also contains two study guides. One is for children, parents, and teachers. The other is for adults who may gather in places of worship, book clubs, and small groups. Discussion topics include themes of compassion, empathy, and diversity.
An emotional storybook could be used to teach young children about the history of the holocaust. A beautifully illustrated, heartfelt story about what can be a violent story, but this one is told with compassion and understanding.
A young Jewish girl is taught the meanings behind catholic symbols as a way to keep her safe when the Nazis come. Her mother chooses to hide her with nuns and begs her to play the role of a good catholic girl so she can survive and maybe one day be who she truly is. It tells an accurate tale of persecution in a way children can understand without sharing the harsher side of the tragic events of the holocaust. The study guides included the theme of compassion, empathy, and diversity so that teachers can share this with their students, and parents can be guided on what can be challenging topics to share.
The Illustrations within the book are soft and muted and help share this powerful story. Though the story is heavy with emotion, I think it will lead to beautiful discussions about a dark time in our history, and we all know that there are vast lessons to be learned from our past.