Night

Book review by
Lucinda Dyer, Common Sense Media
Night Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Unforgettable memoir of teen who survived the Holocaust.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 25 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Night is one of the few books that recounts the experiences of teens during the Holocaust. Wiesel's memoir offers a detailed and harrowing account of day to day life in Auschwitz and Buchenwald -- the starvation rations prisoners were fed, the freezing barracks in which they slept, the days spent as slave laborers, and the constant brutality of the guards and even fellow prisoners. 

Positive Messages

Strong message about the power of memory and human resilience. Because of books like Night, the story of the Holocaust will never be forgotten.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Wiesel and his father cared for and supported each other through the most unimaginable circumstances. 

Violence

The violence is terrifying, random, and sadistic. Wiesel witnesses guards throwing children into a fire and a young boy being hung. People are shot and beaten to death for no reason. A son kills his father for a piece of bread. Wiesel is lashed 25 times by a guard. The fires burn day and night at the ovens.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the late Elie Wiesel's Night is one of the most widely read and accaimed Holocaust memoirs. Wiesel was 15 when he, his three sisters, and his parents were sent to Auschwitz. In spare prose, Wiesel recounts the unimaginable horrors of life in Auschwitz and Buchenwald and the loss of his deeply held religious faith. "Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed.” While Night is assigned reading in middle and high schools around the world, parents should be aware that the violence and brutality in the book are shocking and often unceasing. For speaking out against injustice, violence, and repression, Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAli maz May 1, 2019

Hear me out!

This book does give graphic details, but those are used to give the real impact of how horrifying the holocaust really was. If they did not have all these detai... Continue reading
Parent of a 11-year-old Written byjacksprat05 January 10, 2019

OMG! THE VIOLENCE!

THIS BOOK IS FOR ADULTS ONLY! HEAR ME OUT! TONS OF VIOLENCE, KIDS THROWN TO FIRES, YOUNG KIDS HUNG, WHIPS BEING MISUSED! NOT OKAY! ALL KIDS, STAY AWAY FROM THIS... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byAnonymously Sincere July 9, 2019
Teen, 14 years old Written byac. February 3, 2019

scary

Honestly, too much violence even for a fourteen-year-old like me. Some, but not too many, curse words, and some sexual abuse, though only mentioned briefly. Lot... Continue reading

What's the story?

As NIGHT begins, Wiesel is living with his family in Sighet, a town which was then part of Hungary. Deeply religious, he spends his mornings studying the Talmud and his evenings in the local synagogue. For most of Sighet, the war seems far away and there is confidence that the Russian Army will arrive before the town falls to the Nazis. But in the spring of 1944, the Germans arrive and the entire Jewish population is soon loaded onto the cattle cars that will transport them to Nazi death camps. After they arrive at Auschwitz, Wiesel and his father are separated from his mother and sisters but manage to remain together during the nightmare months that follow. As the Russians approach Auschwitz, the prisoners are forced on a deadly march through winter snows before being taken by train to Buchenwald. It is there that Wiesel's father dies, in circumstances that will forever haunt him. 

Is it any good?

Harrowing, heartbreaking, and brutal, this unforgettable memoir of a teenage survivor of Auschwitz and Buchenwald is essential reading for anyone studying the Holocaust. Elie Wiesel tells his story in a voice that is quiet and spare. Only the most essential words are needed to describe the horrors he witnessed. Wiesel has stated that Night begins where Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl ends. For teens whose knowledge of the Holocaust goes no further than the young Dutch girl who wrote, "In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart," Night may be hard to process  emotionally. For all readers, it could help begin difficult discussions about the nature of good and evil in the world. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk how books like Night help us to better understand history. What can you learn about this period in history from a personal memoir that you can't learn from a textbook?

  • Have you watched any movies or TV shows about the Holocaust? How accurately do you think they portrayed what is was like to be a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp?

  • Author Elie Wiesel and his family had a chance to escape before being transported to Auschwitz. Why do you think they decided against it? What would you and your family have done? 

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