Nonfiction Monday: Doreen Rappaport’s "Beyond Courage"

Monday YA Round Up
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts

Nonfiction Monday is ….HERE!!!
First, Welcome to Nonfiction Monday! I’ll be checking in  all day, so please leave your contributions in the comments section so that I can add  your contribution to the round up.

This week, I read Doreen Rappaport’s Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust.  What an absolutely amazing book.  
In her introduction, Doreen Rappaport writes:
Even as a Jew, growing up in a Jewish household, I had only ever heard that “Jews went like lambs to the slaughter” during the war.  Researching this book, I learned that the truth was quite different.   From the beginning of Hitler’s ascent in Germany and all through the war, Jews resisted the Nazis with uprisings and escapes and rebellions. But resistance is not defined just by dramatic, militant events like these. ”

Beyond Courage is  a history of  Jewish resistance across many countries and in many forms. In five separate sections, Rappaport traces the deepening crises facing Jews across Europe as they come to realize that the faith they treasure and honor puts them at the center of Hitler’s maniacal cross-hairs.  They may have lived in Germany, Belgium or the Netherlands  for many generations, but now they are outcasts in their homelands, living in grave danger.  How to survive? How to fight back? How to keep hope?
Rappaport spent six years exhaustively researching the answers to these questions.  Through this research and through countless interviews with survivors who had new stories to tell, she has written an unforgettable account of those terrible years.  Some stories are well known – the daring escape from Sobibor and the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto, but the most moving accounts are the lesser known ones, when courageous people took unbelievable risks (and often suffered the consequences) so that others may escape to live in freedom and security.  We meet Peter Ginz in Theresienstadt, for example, and Herbert Baum in Berlin, the Bielski brothers in occupied Belorussia and Marianne Cohn in Annemasse, occupied France.  We learn of their resolve not to give in to the madness around them, but to remain undaunted against all odds and to act.  The book begins with this poem written by eleven year old Franta Bass in the Theresienstadt Ghetto:

by Franta Bass I am a Jew and will be a Jew forever.
Even if I should die from hunger,
never will I submit.
I will always fight for my people,
on my honor.
I will never be ashamed of them,
I give my word.

I am proud of my people,
how dignified they are.
Even though I am suppressed,
I will always come back to life.

These lines framed the many stories and experiences within Beyond Courage.  This is such an important book, especially because it reveals the human capacity to remain defiant in the face of injustice, and to work together to defeat injustice – no matter how high the cost. 
Here is a link to Doreen Rappaport’s webpage where she has posted more information about her book, including some fascinating interviews.

The Round up:

At NC Teacher Stuff, Jeff Barger has a review of  Worst of Friends, “a lively picture book that helps young readers understand the cantankerous and affectionate relationship between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.”

Myra has been on a reading tear as evidenced by her post on Gathering Books.   Among the treasures she shares is Funny Business: Conversations With Writers of Comedy  by Leonard Marcus. 

Cathy and Louise have posted a review of   The Main Event: the Moves and Muscle of Pro Wrestling at  Nonfiction Detectives .

Amy at Hope is the word shares her review of  Molly Bang’s new book, Ocean Sunlight.

At Bookends this morning, Cindy and Lynn share what they are doing to supporting Common Core implementations and they list some helpful resources from Booklist magazine. This is such a timely and informative post!

Perogies and Gyoza  shares a book about the emotions animals and humans have in common called It’s Our Nature.

Jennifer at The Jean Little Library shares a review of Secret Garden a picture book about  food chains and food webs in our backyards.

At SpeakWell, ReadWell, Jeannette  features a picture book about the U.S. Constitution in honor of Constitution day.

Lisa at Shelf-employed shares a review of Surf Dog Miracles – amazing critters who surf for fun and for a cause.

Alice at Supratentorial shares a timely book about Autumn.

At Delightful Children’s Books, Amy shares a review of Balloons Over Broadway,  and an interview with its author,  Melissa Sweet.

Booktalking’s Anastasia features Seeing Red: The True Story of Blood. ..gory and fascinating indeed!

At Apples With Many Seeds, Tammy writes about Trash! about ragpicker children and recycling by Gita Wolf.

All About Books With Janet Squires reviews  All About Fall: Animals In Winter.


19 thoughts on “Nonfiction Monday: Doreen Rappaport’s "Beyond Courage"

  1. Hi there beautiful Tara, thanks so much for hosting this week. Here is my contribution for this week's Nonfiction Monday as I am sharing Leonard Marcus' Funny Business (and a few other books besides) Courage sounds like a powerful book. When you mentioned the Theresienstadt Ghetto, I was reminded of Requiem. They would be good companion books, I think. 🙂

  2. Hi Tara, I just saw this book as I was researching something else. It sounds very beautiful, in that poignant and inspiring way so many books about the time of the Holocaust are. I'm glad you gave so much detail about it. Thanks.

  3. Thank you for the excellent review of Beyond Courage – what a wonderful book! At Bookends this morning, Cindy and I are writing about what we are doing for supporting Common Core implementations and listing some helpful resources from Booklist magazine. A little different from our usual Nonfiction Monday post but but we hope it is useful.

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