Irena Book One: Wartime Ghetto
Is a clear and well-informed understanding of the horrors of the Holocaust prevention against having it happen again? Researchers believe so, and thus we offer Irena: Wartime Ghetto with the hope that teens will become a vigilant resistance to any attempt of genocide in our world.
Irena Sendlerowa, a young, non-Jewish humanitarian worker, joined the resistance and saved over 2,500 children from the Nazi-occupied Warsaw ghetto. This disease-ridden ghetto was a place of poverty and stark desperation.
Carefully researched, this graphic novel's artwork has an innocence that is in stark contrast to this very dark subject matter. Irena: Wartime Ghetto exposes the horrors of the situation and the desperate measures, including alcohol, used by Irena to keep the children silent during the escapes.
Note to parents: although some language and mature topics are briefly mentioned, the widespread evil revealed makes this title best for older readers. A teen who is mature enough to read through the profound atrocities of the time is unlikely to be shocked by any language or specific content.
About Graphic Novels
Experienced parents know that the amount of reading their child does will directly and positively impact his reading fluency and vocabulary development. That is why graphic novels, once relegated to the category of lowbrow reading, have experienced a surge in popularity.
You may think that the graphic novel is primarily for mainstream American children who are peppered by snack-size visual and audio bombardment. If you desire that your children slow down and feast on the written word, you may cringe at the idea of a graphic novel version of Moby Dick. But before you issue a home-wide ban on these books, consider the following.
If you have a reluctant or beginning reader, your first concern should be fluidity and competency. You will find that the graphic novel's illustrations draw your child in even as the vocabulary becomes more complex. Then, because the graphics are so attention-grabbing, children often find themselves reading for pleasure.
If your reluctant reader is an older child, your primary concern may be making sure that he is culturally savvy. With graphic novels, vocabulary is introduced via contextual clues, making great literature accessible to more children. The interesting pictures and snappy dialogue (with little-to-no narration to bog the reader down) will encourage independent reading and learning. As the child's competence and confidence grow, his joy in literacy will increase.
Even if your older child is a competent reader, he will enjoy taking a break from the verbally intense books characteristic of higher-level learning. A 2006 study found that the amount of reading children did for fun decreased from the time they were eight through their teen years. Graphic books can re-engage them in the delights of reading for leisure and learning.
Some children may never read for pleasure. But most children, from the reluctant, faltering reader to the brilliant but easily bored adolescent, will find graphic novels intriguing.