How to Tell Your Children About the Holocaust

Patty Osborne

I wish Ruth Mandel’s book How to Tell Your Children About the Holocaust (McGilligan) had a more lyrical title to match the poetry of the short pieces in this beautiful book because I almost didn’t read it. My children have grown up and (mostly) left home, so I only picked up Mandel’s book because it was small enough to fit in my bag and to read on the bus.

Mandel, the daughter and granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, writes in poetry and short prose to trace the journey she took back through time and place, to understand what happened to her extended family during the war and after it.

A pond murky with ash from the ovens, human hair collected for the mattress factory, ten bales of cloth that bought a boy’s life—with such poignant images Mandel entices us into her family recollections and leaves us changed by our experiences there.

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