Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

September 28, 2000

Journal explores how to explain Holocaust to children

The University of Guelph journal Canadian Children's Literature (CCL) has released a special edition on the deeply emotional issue of how to explain the horror of the Holocaust to children.

The 202-page volume, "Children of the Shoah: Holocaust Literature and Education," explores the theme through a mix of academic articles, artwork and poetry. The full-colour cover by Canadian artist Rita Briansky depicts a young woman fleeing her community and glancing back as it goes up in flames.

"The whole issue is about telling stories, how we look back at the past, at the flames of racial hatred, what we make of it, what we tell of it," said editor Marie Davis, an adjunct English professor, adding that "shoah" is the Hebrew word for catastrophe.

"One of the big questions that haunts the issue is: ‘When do you tell children? What is the appropriate time for them to know about racial hatred and genocide?' People offer different opinions. Some children of survivors say to ‘wait a long time' because they felt burdened by being told too early. Others say you have to tell them as soon as possible, so the children don't find out through other means, so you keep it as a family story."

Davis started compiling and editing submissions for the journal more than two years ago. A $6,000 special initiatives grant from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council made publication possible.

Response to the issue has been positive — the 1,025-copy run is nearly sold out — and submissions are being received for a companion issue, for which CCL is seeking funding. Targeted for publication late next year, it will focus on teaching the Holocaust in the classroom to students at all levels, including suggestions for reading lists and lesson plans. There are plans to eventually turn both issues into a book.

The non-profit CCL, produced by the School of Literatures and Performance Studies in English, is geared to educators and librarians in universities and primary and secondary schools. Founded in 1975, it features essays and reviews from leading authorities on literature for young people.

Contact: Prof. Marie Davis Department of English (519) 763-8340

For media questions, contact Lori Hunt, Media Relations Officer, Communications and Public Affairs, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 3338.

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