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The Impact of Reality

When I was nine years old, I ordered a biography of Adolf Hitler from the Scholastic Book Club. I read it in one mesmerized, horrified sitting. It was my first graphic exposure to the horrors of the Holocaust, and when I finished it, I burst into tears. Nothing I read before had given me such a sense of vulnerability or peril, all based on the mere accident of having been born Jewish. I read that book many times in the next two years, perhaps with the unconscious and certainly unarticulated hope that, this time, Hitler would be stopped and the tragedy averted.

Yona Zeldis McDonough lives in Brooklyn, New York. The author of several books for children, her biography of Anne Frank (illustrated by her mother, Malcah Zeldis) will be published by Henry Holt and company.