February 15, 2010

A Glance Into the Holocaust

The Holocaust was without question one of the most horrible events to have ever taken place in our world's history. As the years go by, the Holocaust surviors dwindle in number. The only way that remains to capture the true terror of the event and the bravery and luck of survivors and victims is through the written word. Elie Wiesel is one of those survivors who immortalized his experience by writing the novel Night.

"In Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel's memoir Night, a scholarly, pious teenager is wracked with guilt at having survived the horror of the Holocaust and the genocidal campaign that consumed his family. His memories of the nightmare world of the death camps present him with an intolerable question: how can the God he once so fervently believed in have allowed these monstrous events to occur? There are no easy answers in this harrowing book, which probes life's essential riddles with the lucid anguish only great literature achieves. It marks the crucial first step in Wiesel's lifelong project to bear witness for those who died."

This book hurts as most Holocaust accounts do. But it does a great job of exposing the reality of the time. This book is a wonderful resource for teachers who want to provide an account of the Holocaust that reaches outside of the prose and drama versions of Anne Frank's diary. I highly recommend this book. It's a fast read but is rich with history.

February 9, 2010

The Next Harry Potter?

Is Percy Jackson the next Harry Potter?

Perhaps... though I doubt any boy hero will ever surpass Harry Potter in popularity. Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series follows a normal teenage boy through adolescense, much like the Harry Potter series does. The difference? Percy's parents aren't wizards. Percy's parents are a normal mortal mother and Poseidon, the god of the sea. Naturally, being a demigod, Percy will not have an easy teenage experience.

The five books in the series introduce the Olympian gods, the Titans, and other mythological characters in a way that is easy and familiar. Riordan brilliantly educates his readers about the myth without making it appear as though he is lecturing. The Percy Jackson series is a great tool for exposing young adults to Greek mythology in a fun, entertaining way. And now that the first book in the series will be on the big screen this Friday, Riordan's work is sure to reach higher levels of popularity.

I personally would recommend these books to anyone who found Greek mythology or the Harry Potter series interesting. I couldn't put them down and was easily able to devour one book in less than 24 hours. Happy reading!!