Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Last School Reading of 08!

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I just got back from doing my last school reading for 2008. I visited a wonderful school in Guelph called Kortright Hills Public School. Many thanks to Kathy Gossling-Spears for organizing my visit. I spoke to the grade 7’s and 8’s and talked primarily about my book, The Underground Reporters. The book is about a group of young Jewish boys and girls who created a newspaper in their home town in the former Czechoslovakia at a time when all of their freedoms and privileges had been taken away from them. The theme of the book, writing as a form of resistance or using words in a powerful way, is a perfect topic for thirteen and fourteen year olds who strive to assert their views to adults and others.

One of the classes had also been studying a book called Maus by Art Spiegelman, which tells the story of Spiegelman’s parents who were survivors of Auschwitz. This is also a graphic novel and kids of this age are drawn to this genre as an innovative way of telling this history.

These were informed classes when it came to the events of the Second World War and the Holocaust. That’s not always the case when I speak in schools. While many children are aware that there is a war going on in Afghanistan and Iraq, they are often completely unaware of historical events that go back further in time. School curricula are so jam packed that teachers have little time to address events in history beyond a cursory study. I do understand why that is so. I also realize that the history of the Second World War is becoming ancient history as far as some young people (and adults) are concerned, and that saddens me. I read in a newspaper article some time ago, that there is only one remaining veteran of World War I who is still alive. He is over one hundred years old and he is quite ill. When he dies, all firsthand accounts of that time in history will also come to an end. I am so aware that we are not far from that reality when it comes to survivors of the Second World War. I guess that’s why I continue to write these books. I guess that’s why I continue to visit classrooms where I tell these stories. I am happy to share this history with students who have little knowledge about it. And I am gratified when I meet students, like those from Kortright Public School, who know so much and want to learn more.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Kathy Kacer

Kathy Kacer is an award-winning children's author whose focus is historical fiction and true stories about the Holocaust. Her many books include The Secret of Gabi's Dresser, Clara's War, The Underground Reporters, Hiding Edith and The Diary of Laura's Twin.

Go to Kathy Kacer’s Author Page