Friday, December 28, 2018

The Red Ribbon

Adlington, Lucy. The Red Ribbon
September 11th 2018 by Candlewick Press (MA)
E Book from Ohio E Book Project

Ella is in Birchwood (Birkenau), fully believing that her grandparents are still at home and that she will soon be able to leave and resume planning her career as a seamstress. She's thrilled when she gets chosen to work in the Upper Tailoring Studio, where seamstresses rework dresses for the commandant's fashion savvy wife as well as other officers and people of importance in the camp. One of these is Carla, a guard who is oddly friendly to Ella when there is no one to witness, but doesn't hesitate for a second to remind her that she is one of "those people" who is beneath her contempt. In the studio, Ella meets Rose, who seems more refined and less able to take care of herself. The two eventually become friends and help each other through the complicated give-and-take systems at the camp. Unfortunately, much more is taken from the girls, and when Rose swipes a red ribbon for the storehouse of clothing and objects taken from the incoming campers, both girls suffer tremendously for it. Ella has to take harder, more demeaning work with fewer perks, and Rose eventually becomes ill. When the camp is liberated, Ella wants to try to find her grandparents as well as Rose, and is fortunate enough to eventually find her friend.
Strengths: This had a lot of really good details about what it was like to have a somewhat privileged position in a concentration camp. Survival was a precarious proposition, and both Rose and Ella have a lot of close calls before everything falls apart. Carla's behavior was especially interesting. It was also helpful to see what happened to the girls after Liberation; many books stop short of that, and I think students assume everyone in the camps died.
Weaknesses: It seemed odd to call the camp Birchwood, and I also wondered if the residents would have been clueless about the number of deaths occurring.
What I really think: Definitely purchasing. Our 8th grade does a unit on the Holocaust, and this was an easy-to-understand, quick read that also clearly explained what when on in the camps.

Ms. Yingling

No comments:

Post a Comment