My daughter is an advanced reader and her teacher would like to assign her this book as part of a challenge activity. Neither I nor the teacher have read the book, but it sounds to me as though it might be something that would be more appropriate when she's a few years older. She just read "Where the Red Fern Grows" in two days; she liked it, but was in tears at the end. I was thinking of making a counter-suggestion of a work like "To Kill a Mockingbird," which also has dark themes, but not genocide. Any suggestions?
Ann - I guess it depends what she's looking for. I remember reading this book in the 6th grade - I would have been 11 (I'm pushing 40 now). I read it as part of a teacher-guided study of the holocaust that included several other books of this type. I'm thinking of giving it to my 11-year-old this year - he's looking for books to satisfy his school reading requirement, which includes two biographies. I think the subject matter might be a bit tough for a 9-year-old. Mockingbird, though, has it's own issues - questions of romantic sentiments between races, suggestions of incest - it might be a bit early for that as well. Are you looking for more advanced subject matter or just harder reading material? There are some wonderful historical fictions that don't have quite the same graphic content - Johnny Tremaine, Red Badge of Courage. As for Red Fern - I cried when I read it in 8th Grade. Most adults I know still cry when they read it. It's an appropriate response, don't think it means she was too young :-)
If you are concerned about her maturity level there is no penalty in waiting a bit. I tried to "ease" (if such a thing can be said) my 11yr old daughter into the Holocost with the movie "Life is Beautiful" but I still had to explain quite a few things.
I find it odd that a responsible teacher would assign such a book without having read it his/herself. I think this is a very important book that should be read at some point by all students (as well as their parents) but am not sure that a 9-year old, even as an advanced reader, can grasp it conceptually or its far-reaching implications. Wiesel was 15-16 years old when he experienced this atrocity. Had he been a 9 yr. old himself, I'm not sure his perspective would have been adequate to produce the work as it now stands. I would suggest holding off a few years as well as calling the teacher to task for his/her irresponsibility in recommending a book that they have not even consumed.
Try _Number the Stars_ by Lois Lowry. It will probably be an easy read for your daughter, but it is an excellent book, and an introduction to the insanity and inhumanity of the holocaust that doesn't jump right into the camps themselves.
Ann I don't really recommend having your child read Night just yet. I mean when I first read the book I was a sophomore in High school that wasn't too long ago. I am only 18 now. If you are looking for a book that talks about this subject but is more mild than Night I would suggest Number the Stars. I read this book when I was about 10. Hope this helps.
I don't think Night is a good book for a Kid. I personally like the book and have read it 3 or 4 times but the first time was as a Freshmen in HS. The book goes into some details she may not be ready for such as hangings and stuff like that. *SPOILER* the worst part of the book is when they hang a child and the other prisoners have to walk past the boy slowly dying because he wasn't heavy enough to break his neck. Maybe when she starts HS she could read Night.
I am late in replying to this thread. You are obviously a caring, concerned parent wanting to be sure that your daughter will be able to handle this book. I do not recommend it for one so young, even a mature, thoughtful child. This book is among the most powerful books I have ever read and I found it devastating. Even as I write this I am moved to tears remembering some of the passages - I believe Elie Wiesel to be one of the most powerful and influential writers of our generation yet I think the pain and suffering of his truth are best saved until your daughter is older. Good luck making your decision.
For those seeking a book on children's experiences during the Holocaust, there's a new memoir, "A Boy's Holocaust," describing a boy's journey toward manhood while eluding Nazi killing squads in the forests of Poland. It's pretty amazing, inspiring stuff, and written for children ages 10-16 or so. http://www.ABoysHolocaust.com
Along with Number the Stars, which I think a great suggestion. I'd also add The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen. It is about a girl named Hannah who resents the traditions of her Jewish heritage until time travel places her in the middle of a small Jewish village in Nazi-occupied Poland. It's a good story and will help educate your daughter about the topic before she tackles Night four or five years from now.
just because your child is an advanced reader doesn't mean she is mature enough to tackle the themes of books that deal with the darker side of human society. Have her read and read a lot. There are great books out there that do not deal with Nazi death camps.... go to a book store and go to the children's section. Would you have your 9 year read about sex and violence? To Kill a Mocking Bird does deal with a black man going to trial for the "rape" of a white woman in the 30's.... 9 yr old topics???? Why not have her read 50 shades of grey? just as suitable... come on use some sense......
My goodness, I had forgotten all about this. I read quickly through Night at a bookstore and decided against it. I also read through my copy of To Kill a Mockingbird and decided to wait on that too. (I enjoyed it again, however.) She did read Number the Stars back in grade school. She's 12 going on 13 now and reads all the time, but really prefers Rowling, Riordan, Collins, etal. I had hoped she would choose Of Mice and Men for her bridges literature option this semester, but she chose The Andromeda Strain instead. I can certainly understand though; The Andromeda Strain is a thrilling read. Perhaps I can persuade her to pick up some Steinbeck later.
As a certified teacher, I wouldn't recommend Night for a student that young, even if he or she is advanced. I think Night is more appropriate for 8th grade or higher. 8th grade and older is usually the age I've seen my colleagues teach this book. Also, any teacher should read a book before assigning it.
I agree that the teacher definitely should have read Night first. When I read it, I decided that it was not an appropriate book for a nine year old child.
My daughter is in the 8th grade now and has not yet read Night, but I would now allow her to do so. In my opinion, there's an enormous gulf between appropriate subject matter for the 4th grade versus the 8th grade.