Holocaust books have always intrigued me and if I see one written for children, I definitely pick it up. T4, written in prose by Ann Clare LeZotte is one of those fantastic stories that just opens a reader's mind to the horrors that happened during that period in our history, but also to the compassion that was, at times, shown, and by the true love for one's family that withstands all evil.
Paula Becker is a thirteen year old girl residing in rural Germany during the reign of Adolf Hitler. Though not Jewish, Paula has another problem that results in hatred by the German Nazis and puts her on a list of those to be destroyed in order to "purify" a nation. Paula is deaf. Her disability is considered damaging and therefore she is not clean and pure to her country, thus she must be eliminated. When Paula's family learns of the rumors to eliminate the disabled of the country, they are truly blessed when a priest arrives at their door and offers to save her from that fate. Paula moves from one hiding place to another, just trying to survive the Nazis, while also trying to understand why they hate her.
T4 is a wonderful little novel to share in a classroom of middle graders when doing units on WWII or on the Holocaust specifically. It's only 112 pages long and written in short prose, making it a quick, but extremely informative read. Though the characters are fictional, all of the facts presented are truth. I was very impressed with Paula's strength of character, as well as her need to understand why she was considered undesirable.
If you're interested in learning more about T4 or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon.