May 10, 2013 6 Comments
If you’ve read The Man in the Box, you know that I am a huge proponent for combining fiction with reality. That’s probably why I loved Life of Pi so much. Now, to be sure, I’ve learned to be very weary of historical fiction books, such as Gingrich’s To Try Men’s Souls.
But there is one I’d like to point out that was awarded the Newberry Award Medal back in 1990. It’s called Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. It’s a wonderful little book set in Denmark, 1943 about a little Danish girl, Annemarie, who must learn to be brave in the face of the Nazi relocation effort of the Danish Jews – especially since they’re looking specifically for her best friend Ellen Rosen.
It’s a wonderful piece of literature I plan on using as our first means of introduction to World War II with our kids. It chronicles the way life changed for so many in such a short amount of time in a kid-appropriate way. But I can’t see how adults couldn’t get pulled into this short read as well, and not walk away having learned some interesting facts about a particularly brilliant method many Danish people used to hide their Jewish neighbors.
I try not to be too random with my reading selections. Often, I find a piece of history I’m interested in, or a new work of fiction particularly catches my fancy, and I’ll dive in. It may seem kind of out of the blue that I chose a twenty-three year old kids’ fiction book about Nazis occupying Denmark.
Well, you’ll be seeing plenty more Holocaust-related books reviewed here on AdoptingJames in the next several weeks. And here’s why.
I’m proud to officially announce my next book project. Without giving much away, it will be a young reader’s fiction book that takes place somewhere in Austria around the time of the Nazi uprising. I’m being very intentional to make it so that your kids (and mine) will find it engaging and funny (watch Life is Beautiful – it can be done!), and adults will adore it.
I told Sarabeth with a deep sigh the other day, “I wish we had lots of money so I could fly to Germany and walk the streets and smell the smells of Europe, so I can better write this book.” But I’ll just have to do with what God has given me: A library.
Since I can’t go to Europe myself, what better way to smell the dew on the cornflowers, and taste the stale bread, and shiver by the stove cramped in the fireplace during a cold, dark winter in Nazi-ruled Europe than to read about it?
That’s the beauty of historical fiction. It does something that non-fiction books can only do with ultra-accomplished writers (such as Eric Larson and Gregory A. Freeman), and that’s this: They serve as a time portal, picking you up out of your comfortable chair, and placing you dead-center in the middle of history unfolding all around you.
That is what my book will strive to do for you and your children. And I can’t wait for you to read it.