We had such a great time traveling through Warsaw, Krakow, Prague and Berlin last month. (I’ll be writing about all our adventures soon!) In the meantime, I thought I’d share our pre-trip reading list. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you’ll know how much I love graphic novels. The combination of the intimate recollection of the author’s life in their own words along with compelling images often convey deeply personal stories, unlike any other genre. In our family, we all read graphic novels, and it’s fun to share and discuss. Plus, they’re usually short, so we can pass them along fairly quickly.
Some of these graphic novels I’ve written about before, but they’re worth a second look. If you’re interested in any of these titles for your kids, you may want to read them first and then decide if they’re appropriate. I’ve read all the books below, and my kids (ages 12 and 14) have read about 80% of them. Most, but not all, deal with various aspects of the Holocaust. (I realize this is not summer “light” reading but the focus of our trip was primarily Eastern European Jewish history and I wanted us to be prepared for what we’d be learning and seeing.)
I also read The Book of Aaron about a young Polish boy whose family is driven into the Warsaw Ghetto and Leaving Berlin, a spy thriller in postwar Berlin. And besides the classics such as The Diary of Anne Frank, Number the Stars and The Boy in Striped Pajamas, my kids favorite book on the Holocaust is The Berlin Boxing Club. It’s loosely inspired by the true story of boxer Max Schmeling’s experiences following Kristallnacht.
Other books family members read and loved this summer that had nothing to do with our trip were Zeitoun by Dave Eggers, The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime by Mark Haddon, Thirty Girls by Susan Minot, White Teeth by Zadie Smith, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Grisham and David Brook’s The Road to Character.
What books have you read this summer in preparation for your summer travels? Any graphic novels that you’ve loved? What about books your kids have read about the Holocaust? Any great summer reads?