Remember My Story: A Girl, a Holocaust Survivor, and a Friendship That Made History

Little, Brown. Jan. 2024. 256p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316592895.
Gr 6 Up–A hopeful memoir and true story exploring how the Holocaust and other genocides are discussed in schools across the country, and how one friendship led to change for the better. As a 14-year-old in Oregon, Sarnowski was already an activist. After she saw Alter Wiener’s presentation of his life and his survival of the Holocaust, she was inspired. A friendship between Wiener and Sarnowski formed and together the two worked to make lessons about the Holocaust and genocides mandatory in Oregon’s schools. The need for this legislation became more urgent with the rise of hate crimes and speech in Sarnowski’s hometown and across the country. Sadly, Wiener died before seeing the bill pass, but his presence is there in the honors given to him by the state, his family, and this story. Sarnowski recreates the conversations and events they shared, which makes this book read smoothly and has broad appeal to all readers. While the text details the long process of getting the bill passed, the focal point is the friendship between Sarnowski and Wiener. Their story is melancholy, but holds hope for the future. The back matter contains an afterword, author’s note, and lists of resources, readings, and places to visit.
VERDICT Put this in the hands of young activists and any middle school students interested in bringing about change.

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