Sunday, August 4, 2013

Maus by Art Spiegleman


Summary
Maus is a Holocaust story like no other.  With the Jewish people depicted as mice and the Nazis depicted as cats, this graphic novel shows the terrors of the Holocaust from the perspective of a man telling his son about his past. 

First Impressions
I liked the way the Holocaust story is told in this book.  I caution readers against it, however, if they think they are getting a cute little story about a mouse and a cat.  Make no doubt about it - this is a story with brutal truth being told about one Jewish man's life during the Holocaust.  The terrors are only slightly less than they could be if the pictures were done with human characters. 

American Born Chinese by Gene Yang

Summary
Using three separate story lines, Yang weaves three seemingly unconnected characters into a plot that involves everything from modern-day prejudices, ancient Chinese folklore, and acceptance.

My Impressions
I think the part of the book that would really hit home with this audience is the section with Danny and his Chinese cousin Chin-Kee and the section with Jin Wang.  Many middle school aged children are so worried about how they appear to others.  This book does a good job of blending the embarrassment of Danny and the awkwardness of Jin Wang into characters that reflect the feelings of many students in middle school.  By connecting to these characters, students will then understand the feelings that come with being the new kid in school that is from a whole different country than the rest of the class.