January 27th is Holocaust Remembrance Day. It has now been 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz. I’m featuring a special story by author/literary agent Anna Olswanger.
The hardback is just 48 pages, but packs a powerful punch. It’s the true story of Daniel, a Holocaust survivor who arrives at the Brooklyn Jewish school carrying a box. He won’t open it and always keeps the container near.
Another boy, Aaron, is a stutterer and is often teased for his repetitions. The school bully has given him the name, Gravel Mouth. Aaron’s main wish is to become a rabbi. His compassion for others has him reaching out to Daniel. This begins a friendship between the two boys. Together they face the taunts, learning to deal with hurtful words and actions.
Greenhorn would be a great choice for an adult and child to read together. The contents of the box are heartbreaking to comprehend, but also a reality of the time. It’s the perfect story to share in our current world.
Here are five more things I liked about GREENHORN:
- Color illustrations appear throughout. They support and extend the words on the page.
- The Afterword tells the story when the boys meet again as adults. A satisfying footnote.
- Both boys have difficulty expressing themselves for very different reasons. The inclusion of this character trait pushed the story to even greater heights.
- Serves as a springboard to a deeper study of the Holocaust. I’d suggest reading more middle grade books about the topic. The Jewish Book Council has a list of HOLOCAUST BOOKS FOR MIDDLE GRADE READERS; Brightly presents 13 CHILDREN’S AND YA BOOKS TO HELP REMEMBER THE HOLOCAUST; and Pragmatic Mom has 39 HAUNTING HOLOCAUST BOOKS FOR KIDS.
- I kept thinking as I read the story that it would make a fantastic movie. Someone else thought the same thing and made a short film. Check out the 90 second trailer:
The film is available on AMAZON in DVD format.
The hardback edition of GREENHORN is available here.
Visit UNITED NATIONS list of events for today’s remembrance.
Learn more about Anna Olswanger at her website.