Parents' Guide to

The Librarian of Auschwitz

By Lucinda Dyer, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Unforgettable story of a teen heroine of the Holocaust.

The Librarian of Auschwitz Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 15+

Excellent book, but may be too intense for many readers

My 14-year-old son picked up this book from the library--he really enjoyed it and recommended it to me, so I also read it. The story is based on the true life tale of a teenage girl who becomes the librarian for eight books that have been smuggled into Auschwitz by fellow prisoners. Her courage and her will to not only survive, but to enhance the lives of others, is amazing. It gives the reader a picture into the horrors of concentration camp life. Several sub-stories are included in the book; Joseph Mengele, the physician who practiced medical atrocities on prisoners, Freddy Hirsch, who develops a school for the children living there, and others. I'm not sure why this is considered a teen book--it is as intense as any I have read on this time period. Bearing that in mind, I'm not sure how a lot of kids would respond to reading it. Please do a thorough review with the Common Sense Media information, especially the violence section, before having your child read it. It's definitely not for the middle school crowd; mature high schoolers will probably be okay with it and be able to take away the overall message without being overwhelmed by human's cruelty to other humans.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
1 person found this helpful.
age 16+

Really good, but violent and extremely sexual

The Librarian of Auschwitz is a very good book. This is labeled a YA book but I'd consider it an adult novel, because there is a lot of violence and mentions of very sexual things, even for a young adult novel. The reason I gave it four stars is because the book and overall message is positive and realistically portrays the Holocaust, and helps the reader to understand the atrocities committed during that time. However, know yourself and your limit on violence and sexual stuff because it's heavily talked about. There is also mention of a homosexual character, which might spark discussion among younger readers and examples of painful and traumatizing surgeries a Nazi doctor at Auschwitz performed on the prisoners.

This title has:

Educational value
Too much violence
Too much sex

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (6 ):
Kids say (14 ):

This is a haunting, heartbreaking, and unforgettable Holocaust story -- a powerful testament to the courage of a teen girl who risked her life to preserve eight forbidden books. Even teens who don't love reading or share Dita's passion for books are sure to be caught up in a gripping storyline that features secret meetings, a possible traitor, daring escapes, and even romance.

Fact and fiction are blended so seamlessly in The Librarian of Auschwitz that some readers may have difficulty recognizing which characters are real and which are fictional. To make sure readers can identify the real-life characters in the novel, there's a "What Happened To …" section at the back of the book. It reveals the fate of both Nazis (Dr. Mengele, Adolf Eichmann, and camp Kommandant Rudolf Hoss) and prisoners (Dita's best friend, Margit Barnai, and Resistance leader David Schmulewski). A postscript discusses the controversy surrounding the mysterious death of Fredy Hirsch. Whether teens have read widely about the Holocaust or are just beginning to learn about this period in history, the story of Dita Kraus is a must read.

Book Details

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