I read a book this spring that was timely in a hundred ways I wish it wasn’t. In the months that have followed it has become all the more relevant. If there is one book I’d give to every family to read this fall it would be Russell Freeman’s newest non-fiction book for readers as young as 10 and as old as 100.
We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler
is the story of Austrian teenagers Hans and Sophie Scholl who at the beginning of Hitler’s rise to power were glad to join the Hitler youth which they saw as a patriotic organization. But as the Hilter Youth moved from scout-like campouts to militia training and racist indoctrination, the Scholl siblings knew they had to resist at any cost. They put together The White Rose, a society devoted to making Hitler’s war crimes known and turning the tide ofGerman popular opinion against the Nazis. They succeeded, although it cost their lives. Freemen’s book is well researched and includes many historical photographs and yet it handles this very dark subject matter in such a way that most elementary school students can understand without being emotionally overwhelmed.
I have little to add to what has been said so eloquently about the brutal events of the last week in Charleston. Only a small suggestion that if it is your lot to guide young children through this moment, if you are struggling for something uplifting to say to the children in your life, you might consider this short and graceful picture book as a starting point. It’s called Love Will See You Through and it’s written by the neice of Martin Luther King Jr., Angela Williams. She shares what she’s learned from her uncle: have courage, attack the problem, not the person, trust in the power and endurance of love. It’s a place to start and one in concert with the values of the parishioners of Mother Emanuel AME.