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Benno and the Night of Broken Glass

Press: Kar-Ben Publishing (January 1, 2010)
Publication Date:2010-1
Author Name:Wiviott, Meg; Bisaillon, Josee;


A neighborhood cat observes the changes in German and Jewish families in its town during the period leading up to Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass that becomes the true beginning of the Holocaust. 
This cats-eye view introduces the Holocaust to children in a gentle way that can open discussion of this period.

From Booklist

It is not easy to tell young kids the horrifying truth about the Holocaust, but this picture book is a good place to start. 
Using the fictionalized viewpoint of a cat, Benno, it shows what happened to families in one Berlin community.
Benno feels welcome in many homes and stores, and he likes following a Jewish girl, Sophie, and her Christian friend to school everyday.
Then everything changes, and the neighborhood is no longer friendly.
Benno cowers as terrifying men in brown shirts light bonfires, and then there is a night “like no other,” during which Benno hears screams and shattering glass, and he watches apartments being ravaged and the synagogue burn.
The next day, life continues for some, but Benno never sees others again, including Sophie and her family.
The unframed, double-page spreads, created with a mix of collage, drawings, and digital montage, show the warm neighborhood transformed as red flames take over, books fly, and soldiers march in black boots with razor-edged soles.
A brief afterword and bibliography add more information and historical context.
Grades 2-5.
--Hazel Rochman

About the Author

Josee Bisaillon has won many awards for her illustration and was shortlisted twice for the Governor General's Award. 
Josee lives in Montreal, Quebec, with her husband and their three charming children.
For more information, visit www.joseebisaillon.com.


Children's Books,Literature & Fiction,Historical Fiction,Holocaust,Religious Fiction,Jewish,Animals,Cats

 PDF Download And Online Read: Benno and the Night of Broken Glass

Comment List (Total:14)

  •     Good to use during Jewish history month to teach a hard to understand concept to young people. Good also to use different perspectives for teaching the hard concept of perspective/ point of view

  •     Told through the perspective of a neighborhood cat, <i>Benno and the Night of Broken Glass</i> describes how life in Berlin was presiding Nazi occupation, the horrors of...

  •     Great!

  •     My nine-year-old daughter and I read this book tonight, and I thought it apt since January 27th marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

  •     Kristallnacht marked the beginning of the Holocaust for many and for Benno; the life around him has been shattered.

  •     Obviously, some topics are best reserved for an older audience. Thus deciding when to include the topic of the Holocaust can be a controversial.

  •     I used this book to discuss the holocaust and make text to world connection in my 6th grade social studies classroom.

  •     I read this to my students as part of my Holocaust instruction. I teach 5th graders, and I walk a fine line of being truthful without sugarcoating or being too graphic. This book was the second read aloud I did, after The Terrible Things, and it worked perfectly. My students analyzed the pictures and were thoughtful when I read the real account of what happened. We also had a discussion about author purpose so students could identify why the author wrote what she did and who was the intended audience.Overall, this is an excellent resource. I was able to introduce the topic and then move onto additional content.

  •     A must introduction for the younger child to what happenned during Kristallnacht so that events like it can be prevented in the future.

  •     I bought it for my 12 year old grandson and I think it was a start for him to (gently) understanding the Holocaust!

  •     Great book with a different outlook on the Holocaust, but I received the book with the corners and cover damaged (dents and creases). Ultimately I received a damaged book.

  •     It shows the before and after for the lives of those living in Berlin both Jewish and non-Jewish. It depicts the emotion, damage, and fear that reigned that night. It has an excellent afterword with a non-fiction account of the event.

  •     I had to read this for my adolescent literature class. I it is a wonderful book.

  •     I really liked the inferences that this novel made the students draw. I used it with a self contained class of eighth graders, and it worked well for those higher level...


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