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The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen
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The Devil's Arithmetic (1988)

by Jane Yolen

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The main character time travels to live the experiences of Polish Jews held in concentration camps. It is one of the first fiction books I have read that deals directly with the concentration camp life. I believe the intended audience is for sixth grade and above. There are some disturbing instances conveyed. There is one reference to "wedding-night" that I would have preferred it not have been in there so that this book could have been read by the younger age group. Due to this comment, I would limit the personal reading to high school, however, it could be eliminated in a read aloud. See chapter 5, - Also, a glossary would have been helpful. I read this without a dictionary nearby to look up some of the Jewish words.
  MarySchubert | Mar 27, 2017 |
Most likely, this book would most likely not be read to younger grades. But, if it was, students could write down and learn the vocabulary words in each chapter. They would then be asked to use the words correctly in sentences the students come up with themselves. For a fourth and fifth grade class, students could pretend to be Hannah and write a letter to her family. They could write about what they learned, what they went through, who they met, and explain their renewed appreciation and respect of their family's past.
  kkminime | Mar 13, 2017 |
I believe this is a great book that can introduce older students to the horror that millions of Jewish citizens were forced to experience. With such sensitive material, I would only recommend this book as a read aloud for a fifth grade class or an independent read for middle school students. Before I even start reading, I would send a letter home to the parents because I know that this book can become very upsetting for students and I want to be sure that the parents understand what is happening in class. With this book, I would have students be following along with the story and their own research. The fifth graders or middle school students will be plotting dots on a world map that follow along with Hannah's journey. They will also list actual facts that happened at these locations and plot the rise of the Nazi and how it was effecting the Jewish communities. I would use this book as a way to show how World War two had many different casualties that effected different groups of people. I believe this is a book that all students should read because it shows the true impact and devastation that millions of people faced. I would also use this book as a compare and contrast to an actual account from a Holocaust Survivor that I would either read to my students before we started reading this book and have them compare each main characters story. I could also have the students watch the movie that is based on the book and then write a short book report that shows how well they have focused on the details of the book and the movie and compare the two. ( )
  Jbrochu | Mar 10, 2017 |
Twelve year old Hannah is sick of spending Passover 'remembering' the past with her relatives. During the Passover Seder, she is transported to 1942 Poland, where she becomes Chaya (her Hebrew name), the girl she was named for. In this time, where she struggles with which memories are real.
  Jennifer LeGault | Oct 17, 2016 |
"We are all heroes here", 8 May 2016

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This review is from: The Devil's Arithmetic (Paperback)
As an adult reader, I must admit to not expecting great things, as the story opens with a modern American Jewish family celebrating Seder. "Passover.. is about remembering," Mama tells her bored, slightly spoilt daughter Hannah - the horrific WW2 losss of the older generation wash over the girl, who has heard it all before.

Then, in a deft bit of time travel, Hannah finds herself living in a Polish shtetl in 1942 with an unknown family. It's the eve of a wedding and everyone is happy, but the Nazis are close at hand... As she experiences the horrors of life in a concentration camp, she understands the desperate yearning to survive:

"Everyone knew that as long as others were processed, THEY would not be. A simple bit of mathematics, like subtraction, where one taken away from the top line becomes one added on to the bottom. The Devil's arithmetic."

With a touching ending, I thought this would be an ideal book for around the 11 - 12 age-group (but this adult liked it too!) ( )
  starbox | May 9, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jane Yolenprimary authorall editionscalculated
Rosenblat, BarbaraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
To my Yolen grandparents, who brought their family over in the early 1900's, second class, not steerage, and to my Berlin grandparents, who came over close to that same time and settled in Virginia. We were the lucky ones. This book is a memorial for those who were not.

And for my daughter, Heidi Elisabet Stemple, whose Hebrew name is Chaya -- pronounced with a gutteral ch as Hi'-ya -- which means life.

And with special thanks to Barbara Goldin and Deborah Brodie, who were able to ask questions of survivors that I was unable to ask and pass those devastating answers on to me.
c. 1 In honor of Temple Israel by LJCRS 1990
First words
"I'm tired of remembering," Hannah said to her mother as she climbed into the car.
Quotations
She has come to love her next bowl of soup more.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
This follows the story of a young girl who experiences in her head what her aunt and her aunt experienced during the Holocaust. She gets to see the horrors of what happened to appreciate what her family always celebrates.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142401099, Paperback)

Hannah thinks tonight's Passover Seder will be the same as always.  Little does she know that this year she will be mysteriously transported into the past where only she knows the horrors that await.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:31 -0400)

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Hannah resents the traditions of her Jewish heritage until time travel places her in the middle of a small Jewish village in Nazi-occupied Poland.

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