The Best Holocaust Books for Kids and Young Adult Readers of 2023

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Are you looking for excellent books to help your child not only understand what the Holocaust was but also to provide first-person accounts? Is your child learning about the Holocaust in school and looking for more answers?  If you have answered yes to either one of these questions, then you are in the right place. In this post, we’ll detail the best Holocaust books for kids and young adult readers to better understand this horrific event.

This list contains fact and fiction books that would be great for your child to read before they complete middle school. These Holocaust books for middle grade readers and beyond will not only teach your child what they need to know about this period in history, but it will also save them from relying solely on redundant lessons with similar information. Keep reading to find books that are moving, heartfelt, historical, and real.

If you find this list interesting, you may also want to check out our other reading lists here.

Our Top Children's Holocaust Book
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
Our Top Holocaust Picture Book
The Tree in the Courtyard: Looking Through Anne Frank's Window
Our Top Holocaust Chapter Book
Ten Thousand Children
Our Top Young Adult Holocaust Book
Jacob's Rescue
Book Title
The Diary of Anne Frank
The Tree in the Courtyard: Looking Through Anne Frank’s Window
Ten Thousand Children: True Stories Told by Children Who Escaped the Holocaust on the Kindertransport
Jacob's Rescue
Prime Eligible?
-
-
Our Top Children's Holocaust Book
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
Book Title
The Diary of Anne Frank
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Holocaust Picture Book
The Tree in the Courtyard: Looking Through Anne Frank's Window
Book Title
The Tree in the Courtyard: Looking Through Anne Frank’s Window
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Holocaust Chapter Book
Ten Thousand Children
Book Title
Ten Thousand Children: True Stories Told by Children Who Escaped the Holocaust on the Kindertransport
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Young Adult Holocaust Book
Jacob's Rescue
Book Title
Jacob's Rescue
Prime Eligible?

Last update: 2023-01-31

Award-Winning Children’s Holocaust Books

The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank

The Diary of Anne Frank is a well-known staple when speaking regarding the Holocaust. If you are looking for great holocaust books for kids, this is it. It is the diary of a young girl which was found in the attic where she spent the last years of her life. In her diary, she accounts her thoughts and feelings as her family lived in hiding for two years in the annex of an office building until they were found.  Though Anne’s life was cut short, her diary has kept her legacy continuously growing.

With over 30 million copies sold and its translation into over 70 languages, this list would not be complete without the Diary of Anne Frank.  The book is the winner of the YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, and an adapted play even went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1956.

On Sale
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
  • Bantam
  • It is durable and long lasting
  • It ensures you get the best usage for a longer period

Last update: 2023-01-31


Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Hitler Youth tells the grim story of the Hitler youth groups in Germany. The Hitler youth accounted for 3.5 million of the youth in Germany.  Hitler felt that with the youth, he could create a new world.  He worked to gain their trust and loyalty to carry out his gruesome deeds. This book may be a hard read for some as it recounts the stories of real children who survived and others who didn’t.

This book is the winner of the Newbery Honor and Sibert Honor award.  It paints a picture of not only what the Hitler youth faced as they stood in solidarity with Adolf Hitler, but the aftermath and realization that may have happened too late for some. (Ages 12 years old+)

Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow (Scholastic Focus)
  • Bartoletti, Susan Campbell (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages - 03/26/2019 (Publication Date) - Scholastic Nonfiction (Publisher)

Last update: 2023-01-31


The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss

The Upstairs Room is a story of survival.  It is an autobiographical novel which recounts many experiences of Johanna Reiss and her life during the Holocaust. The book tells the story of two sisters Annie and Sini who lived in an upstairs room of a farmhouse for their safety after the German’s occupation of Holland.

The Upstairs Room went on to win several literary awards including SLJ Best Book, the Jane Addams Award, a Newbery Honor, ALA Notable and the Winner of the Jewish Book Council Children’s Book Award. This compelling story is often told in classrooms and is an excellent read for students. (Ages 8 to 12 years old)

The Upstairs Room
  • Reiss, Johanna (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 208 Pages - 04/02/2019 (Publication Date) - HarperCollins (Publisher)

Last update: 2023-01-30


Recommended Holocaust Picture Books for Kids

The Tree in the Courtyard: Looking Through Anne Frank’s Window by Jeff Gottesfeld and Peter McCarty

The Tree in the Courtyard: Looking Through Anne Frank’s Window is a fictional story which is told from the perspective of the tree outside of Anne Frank’s window.  The tree watches the various events of Anne’s life take place.  This includes her in the annex in hiding as well as her being taken away.

The book provides children with a gentle introduction into the Holocaust and Anne Franke before they are of age to her diary. The illustrations are delicate, and the story continuously brings the tree to life. (Ages 5-8 years old)

The Tree in the Courtyard: Looking Through Anne Frank's Window
  • Hardcover Book
  • Gottesfeld, Jeff (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2023-01-30


Star of Fear, Star of Hope by Jo Hoestlandt, Johanna Kang

The State of Fear, Star of Hope is a picture book centered around a young girl, Helen. Helen recalls the persecution of her Jewish friend and expresses her confusion around the Holocaust.  She doesn’t understand why her best friend Lydia is treated different or must wear a yellow star.  She also does not understand  Lydia’s fear for the future. One evening Lydia fleas Helen’s birthday party as the Nazis begin to capture Jewish people.  Helen not understanding why Lydia must leave, shouts to her that they are no longer friends.  Regrettably, these words are something she can never take back.

This book is included on this list as it touches on the harsh reality that many children faced.  It provides a gentle and practical approach to the Holocaust. (Ages 7-10 years old)

Star of Fear, Star of Hope
  • Hoestlandt, Jo (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 01/01/1996 (Publication Date) - Bloomsbury USA Childrens (Publisher)

Last update: 2023-01-30


I Will Come Back for You by Marisabina Russo 

I Will Come Back for You is based on the experiences of the author, Marisabina Russo.  One grandmother recounts her time as a little Jewish girl growing up in Rome during the Holocaust.  She explains her fight for survival in the mountains and her separation from her parents. She uses her charm bracelet as a basis for her story.

This book provides a delicate way of telling a hard story. This story is one of many beautifully written and illustrated Holocaust picture books for kids. The author uses something as simple as a charm bracelet to recount memories that she will never forget. (Ages 5-9 years old)

I Will Come Back for You
  • Russo, Marisabina (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 40 Pages - 03/11/2014 (Publication Date) - Dragonfly Books (Publisher)

Last update: 2023-01-30


Hidden: A Child's Story of the Holocaust by Loic Dauvillier, Greg Salsedo

Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust is another tale told from a Grandmother who tells her Granddaughter her story of being young and Jewish in Paris.  She recounts her experience being hidden by family and friends when her parents were taken away to a concentration camp.

This picture book is powerfully presented in the style of a graphic novel.  It provides a unique and heartwarming perspective to a very touchy subject. (Ages 6-10 years old)

Hidden: A Child's Story of the Holocaust
  • Hardcover Book
  • Dauvillier, Loic (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2023-01-30


Recommended Holocaust Chapter Books for Kids

Ten Thousand Children: True Stories Told by Children Who Escaped the Holocaust on the Kindertransport by Anne Fox & Eva Abraham-Podietz

Ten Thousand Children is the story behind the lucky children who could escape the Holocaust. Each chapter goes into explaining what life was like living during the Holocaust.  The book includes seven sections, each detailing a different period.  The book talks in-depth about the charitable efforts of others and the circumstances that were faced with rescuing Jewish children.  The book describes the Kindertransport, also known as the rescue mission led by the British to save as many Jewish children as possible. (Ages 10-13 years old)

This book is on this list as it tells a story that many don’t often hear about.  That is the story of the brave individuals who risked their own lives because they knew what was happening was wrong.

Ten Thousand Children
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Fox, Anne (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2023-01-30


Hitler's Daughter by Jackie French

Hitler’s Daughter is the story of Mark and several of his friends who like to meet up and tell stories.  These stories are generally full of fun, adventure, and fantasy.  However, everything changes when Anna tells a different type of story.  Anna tells the story of Heidi, who is Hitler’s daughter. For some reason, Mark can’t get Anna’s story out of his mind and consistently wonders what it would feel like to live in this era.

Hitler’s Daughter is told from the perspective of children in the present day.  The novel asks questions that many children may wonder and forces them to examine pieces of themselves in the process. (Ages 8-12 years old)

On Sale
Hitler's Daughter
  • French, Jackie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 121 Pages - 02/01/2023 (Publication Date) - Scholastic, Inc. (Publisher)

Last update: 2023-01-31


The Best Young Adult Holocaust Books for Tweens

Jacob's Rescue by Malka Drucker

Jacob’s Rescue is based on a true story.  It is the story of a boy named Jacob Gutgeld, who’s world was shaken after Nazi soldiers invaded Poland.  He is forced into a ghetto with the family members that he does have left until his life takes a shocking turn.

This book is on this list because it is not only a holocaust story of survival but of humanity.  It sheds light on some of the best and worst individuals around during that time. It shows how people can go from living amazing lives to the next being in a ghetto with little to nothing. This book is a story of suspense that no one will be able to put down. (Ages 8-12 years old)

Jacob's Rescue
  • Drucker, Malka (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 128 Pages - 07/01/1994 (Publication Date) - Yearling (Publisher)

Last update: 2023-01-30


The Other Victims - First-Person Stories of Non-Jews Persecuted by the Nazis By Ina R. Friedman

The Other Victims is one of many chilling young adult Holocaust books for Tweens.  It talks about the people which many history books do not.  These are the black, gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and other non-Jewish groups which died at the hands of the Nazis.  This text is a collection of first-hand accounts which gives readers information about that group as well as individual reports.

This book makes the list because while we recognize the 6 million Jewish people who lost their lives, we must also know the 5 million other people who lost their lives as well.  Though they are not Jewish, their lives mattered as well. (Ages 12 – 17 years old)

The Other Victims: First-Person Stories of Non-Jews Persecuted by the Nazis
  • Hardcover Book
  • Friedman, Ina R. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2023-01-31


Recommended Holo­caust Books for Mid­dle Grade Readers

Elly: My True Story of the Holocaust by Elly Gross

At the age of 15, Elly's family was transported to a concentration camp, Auschwitz.  She was pointed in one direction and her family in another, little did she know, she would never see them again.  However, one thing she did do was survive.

This text is a remarkable story to add to this list because not only is it one of survival; it shows readers the past histories of some companies that are still around today. Elly was involved in a lawsuit against Volkswagen.  During the Holocaust, their German factory used Jewish people as slave labor.

On Sale
Elly: My True Story of the Holocaust
  • Gross, Elly (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 103 Pages - 02/01/2023 (Publication Date) - Scholastic (Publisher)

Last update: 2023-01-30


The Story of the Holocaust by Clive A. Lawton

The Story of the Holocaust recounts the beginnings of the Holocaust and how it all started.  It provides the background of what happened which later developed into the horrible camps, ghettos, and deportations, which are a large part of history.

This book is an essential addition to this list as it shows how the church developed a false assumption that the Jews were responsible for the death of Christ. The main message in this book is that we must learn about history so that it does not repeat itself. (Ages 9 years old+)

On Sale
The Story of the Holocaust (Single Title: Social Studies)
  • Lawton, Clive (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 48 Pages - 02/01/1876 (Publication Date) - Franklin Watts (Publisher)

Last update: 2023-01-31


The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen

The Devil’s Arithmetic is the story of Hannah. Hannah hates when the family gets together because it seems like all they do is talk about the past.  However, Hannah is in for a rude awakening.  At the next Passover Seder, she gets transported into the past, and no story can prepare her for what she is about to experience.

This story is an excellent book for middle school students to understand the Holocaust and the atrocities, which were a part of it. The relaxed attitude displayed by Hannah could be the same attitude some students display when learning about history. However, they can learn valuable lessons through Hannah and in reading this book. This text is one of many great books about the Holocaust for middle schoolers. (Ages 10 years old +)

The Devil's Arithmetic (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (Puffin Modern Classics)
  • Yolen, Jane (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 208 Pages - 04/12/2004 (Publication Date) - Turtleback Books (Publisher)

Last update: 2023-01-31


Recommended Holocaust Books for High School Readers

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Another highly recommended title is The Book Thief.  At her brother’s grave is where the main character, Liesel, obtains her first stolen book.  It happens to be the Gravedigger’s Handbook.  This point in time is where her love for books begins.  She even begins to go as far as stealing books from Nazi book burnings. Though this is a dangerous feat, the stakes only get higher when her family decides which will change her life forever. 

This book comes highly recommended from several individuals and is one of many good holocaust books. This text deals more with the personal aspect of the effects of the war.  It does not talk about the significant events which we usually see. It illustrates experiences on more of a personal level, which can be great for getting teens to relate to the experiences occurring in the Holocaust. (Ages 13 years old+)

On Sale
The Book Thief (Anniversary Edition)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Zusak, Markus (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2023-01-30


Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi

Survival in Auschwitz which can also be referred to as If This Is a Man. This book is perfect for high school age students as it recounts the experiences of Primo Levi.  It goes into details of his arrests as a member of the anti-fascist resistance and details his time in the Auschwitz concentration camp until it’s liberation.

This book is an excellent read for older children and comes highly recommended by teachers, students, and avid readers. Levi is one of the few survivors of the Holocaust, and readers must understand the depths of his experience.  Primo, throughout the novel, reflects on the humanity that was and was not experienced.

On Sale
Survival In Auschwitz
  • Great product!
  • Levi, Primo (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2023-01-30


Summary of the Best Holocaust Books for Kids and Young Adult Readers

To sum up, here are the holocaust books we looked at today:

Our Top Children's Holocaust Book
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
Our Top Holocaust Picture Book
The Tree in the Courtyard: Looking Through Anne Frank's Window
Our Top Holocaust Chapter Book
Ten Thousand Children
Our Top Young Adult Holocaust Book
Jacob's Rescue
Book Title
The Diary of Anne Frank
The Tree in the Courtyard: Looking Through Anne Frank’s Window
Ten Thousand Children: True Stories Told by Children Who Escaped the Holocaust on the Kindertransport
Jacob's Rescue
Prime Eligible?
-
-
Our Top Children's Holocaust Book
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
Book Title
The Diary of Anne Frank
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Holocaust Picture Book
The Tree in the Courtyard: Looking Through Anne Frank's Window
Book Title
The Tree in the Courtyard: Looking Through Anne Frank’s Window
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Holocaust Chapter Book
Ten Thousand Children
Book Title
Ten Thousand Children: True Stories Told by Children Who Escaped the Holocaust on the Kindertransport
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Young Adult Holocaust Book
Jacob's Rescue
Book Title
Jacob's Rescue
Prime Eligible?

Last update: 2023-01-31

The Holocaust, for many, can be a hard subject to talk about.  It can be even harder to introduce an event so catastrophic to children and youth. However, it is an important lesson in history that we must all acknowledge.  This list contains several books related to the Holocaust that can be enjoyable as well as informational.  From prize-winning books to picture books, there is something here that will pique the interest of just about any reader. From classics like The Diary of Anne Frank to The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, you should not be disappointed.  This comprehensive list is a great reference when you or your child are looking for reading options through their school years.  Many of these titles recount the horrific experiences of several individuals but also tell the stories of bravery and survival.

Did you find this interesting? Check out our other reading lists here!

Here are a few to help you out: 

> The Best Middle Grade Books of All Time

> The Best Nonfiction Books for 6th Graders (11-Year-Olds)

> The Best Nonfiction Books for 7th Graders (12-Year-Olds)

> The Best High School Reading Book List

> The Best Middle School Read Alouds

> The Best Middle School Summer Reading List

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Professor Conquer

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