Saturday, April 26, 2008

Night, by Elie Wiesel: A Book Review

Night, by Elie Wiesel, is one brutal book to read. Wiesel is the critically acclaimed author of various stories centered around Jewish issues and the Holocaust. Wiesel is himself a survivor of both Auschwitz-Birkenau and Buckenweld concentration camps, and is the 1986 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Night is only about 120 pages long, and that's in hard back. The book is short, but packs a big punch. When I read this book, I could really feel Wiesel's sense of despair, confusion, and fear as his family was torn apart, and as he watched his father waste away. He presents the reader with an intimate look at what evil is, how it tears individuals to shreds, and the lingering effects of such horrible events.

This book can be used in the classroom, even in the younger grade levels. If you have a progressive principal, and/or are dedicated to showing your students a true perspective of the Holocaust (forget all that textbook nonsense), then this is a great book to read. Bear in mind that classically this book is used in high school, but it has been on my bookshelf this school year and has been read twice, and has led those two students to find more books on the Holocaust and learn more, so I've seen this book open doors to learning.

I recommend this book for kids and adults alike, I have this book at home, and am currently writing a research paper comparing this book to the graphical elements in Art Spiegelman's Mausand in the movie The Pianist. It is powerful, it will stay with you, and is a lifetime learning opportunity for your students, whether they're 11 years old or 18.