Banned Book 25

The Devil's Arithmetic - Jane Yolen

Apparently this made some challenge lists because of the use of the worries d Devil in the title. 

                Jane Yolen has been called the Hans Christian Andersen of America, largely because of her vast and high quality output of work aimed primary towards children and young adults.  Like Terry Pratchett’s novels, Yolen’s young adult novels can be quite easily read by adults as well.  Referring to Yolen as Andersen is slightly misleading because Yolen is nowhere near as moralizing as Andersen can be.

                The closest she gets is this book, and while it does have a moral, to term the book moralizing isn’t quite right.

                Arithmetic is the story of a young girl who is on the verge of rejecting or not understanding her family’s Jewish traditions at the time of Passover.  Though ugh circumstances, the young girl finds herself thrust back in time to her grandmother’s life in Europe just at the start of the Holocaust.  What then enfolds is a family’s experience during the Holocaust, including in a camp.

                It is not an easy book, and in many ways it is a harsh book.  It is likely that a child will find it too moralizing, but it does speak to the need to remember the past, something that every generation needs a reminder of.  This is especially true now when survivors are dying due to old age.  For not only does Yolen show the past, she shows connections to that past.