Hilton eighth graders learn about the Holocaust through children’s books

By on March 18, 2019
Alana Conolly (left) and Mia Geiger, eighth graders at Merton Williams Middle School, show off their completed “puzzles.” Each piece illustrates central themes found in the children’s books they read about the Holocaust.

Alana Conolly (left) and Mia Geiger, eighth graders at Merton Williams Middle School, show off their completed “puzzles.” Each piece illustrates central themes found in the children’s books they read about the Holocaust.

Students in Melissa Paris’ eighth grade English class at Merton Williams Middle School in Hilton are learning about the Holocaust in an unconventional way – through children’s picture books. Based on true stories, the books illustrated the atrocities of war, anti-Semitism, the Star of David, Night of Broken Glass, and Warsaw Ghettos through the perspective of children’s literature. “The students also learned that there was still kindness and loyalty during this time, as many of the books told true stories of people helping people,” said Paris.

Each time the students completed a book, they received a puzzle piece. At the end of the lesson they were able to see how even a small piece is part of a larger picture. Then, after reading the children’s books, the class read Night by Elie Wiesel, a candid and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps.

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