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Eli Remembers by Ruth Vander Zee
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Eli Remembers

by Ruth Vander Zee

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“Eli Remembers,” is an incredible and emotional story about a young boy who learns what the holocaust was about. The young boy noticed that every year on Rosh Hashanah Eve his family would light seven candles and say a prayer over the wine. His family members would be very upset and emotional. One year his parents decided to take him and his grandparents to see where his great grandmother was from. This is when the young boy learned about all of the Jewish people that were killed. His family took him to the pit that they got burned in to bring flowers and say a prayer. The young boy learned that in that pit his great great grandfather and his great aunts and uncles died in it. He was so sad that he took seven flowers, just like they always had seven candles, and he went and placed them in the middle of the grave. He then told his grandpa that he would never forget what happened there. This story was very sad and the way that the illustrated drew some of these pictures really hit me. The pictures are warm in the beginning but as the boy learned what happened the pictures get a cold feeling to them. The author did an incredible job by making the story gentle for young children. Even though at the end it gets really harsh, but that is the truth and there is no way to easily explain what happened during World War II. The author really shows the history behind the holocaust by showing how the family members were sad during a joyous time. During this time it made all of the family members upset because they knew what happened and the young boy did not. ( )
  Emorrison | Sep 6, 2016 |
Eli always wonders why his grandparents become very sad when celebrating Rosh Hashanah. No one will explain because they say it is too difficult to talk about. His family decides to take a trip where their late family member came from in Lithuania. Once there, Eli sees where she grew up and enjoys the culture and people. When they visit Ponar forest, Eli learns that 80,000 Jewish men, women, and children were killed there as well as his great grandmother's father and siblings. He finally realizes why the memory is so difficult and tells him grandfather he will always remember. ( )
  NoelAbadie | Apr 26, 2016 |
"Eli Remembers" brings us on a very long journey in a short amount of time. The book begins with Eli, a young Jewish boy, asking about the seven candles that his Great-grandmother Gussie lights. He wonders why over the years, every time some one in his family lights these seven candles, someone has tears running down their face. When he finally gets the answer, he "felt like somebody was hitting his chest." The seven candles represented the six siblings and father of Gussie that were killed by Nazis.
The setting of this book really puts everything into perspective. We start out at Eli's home celebrating what is supposed to be a happy time and eventually move to Ponar Forest in Lithuania. The illustrations are very dark and gloomy. The only color we see is the color of the roses that Eli's mother brought to the pit. Because of the setting, I was able to place myself in the book and really feel what Eli and his family were feeling. As soon as I saw and read about where they were, my feelings and facial expressions changed just as Eli's did. The theme of this book gave us more insight as to what went on during the Holocaust and how so many lives were lost and effected. ( )
  jmistret | Feb 4, 2016 |
Eli Remembers tells the story about a young boy, Eli, who questions why his family cried when they light seven candles during Rosh Hashanah. He doesn't understand why such a happy celebration could cause tears. His mother will not tell him why they cry because "some things are too difficult to talk about." Eli and his family visit Lithuania, the place where his great-grandmother is from. They visit where the town she lived in and the places she went to as a child. One day they go to Ponar Forest, a memorial for 80,000 Jews who were killed during World War II. Ponar Forest was quiet, cold, and gray. A deep pit is located there and is the place where Jews marched too and stood around before soldiers shot them in their backs and they fell into the pit. Then the soldiers would burn them. This is where Eli's great-grandmother's father and siblings were killed. He now understand why his family cries during Rosh Hashanah. The seven candles are for them. The theme of this story is remembrance. Eli vows to always remember his family that was killed in the Holocaust, the same way his other family members do. The setting is Eli's home, Lithuania, and the Ponar Forest. Each location plays an important part of the story. We see how Eli and his family remember his from at their home and then they visit the location of their grave. Polar Forest is gray and cold, which describes the emotion of the place. ( )
  mamontgomery | Feb 2, 2016 |
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters are very real and believable. The main character is a little boy, Eli, around the age of 8, and the supporting characters are his immediate family. They celebrated holidays together, traveled together, and most importantly, remembered the death of their loved ones together. Another great thing about this book is that it pushes readers to broaden their perspectives. This story is about a boy who eventually learns the reason behind a prayer that his family does at every holiday dinner. His father takes him to the grave of 80,000 Jews who were killed during World War II, and seven of those 80,000 Jews were Eli’s great aunts and uncles. This story offers valuable historical content, in a form other than stating plain facts. The message of this story is that hundreds of thousands of Jews of all ages were brutally killed and the Ponar Field was one of the main killing grounds.
1 vote Abeckl1 | Sep 29, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802853099, Hardcover)

Year after year, Eli watches the solemn lighting of seven candles at his family's celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. But these happy occasions are always tinged with sadness, and Eli doesn't understand why. Then one year he travels to Eastern Europe and finally hears the stories that for generations have been too painful to share. As Eli learns how the candles represent his family's sad connection to the Holocaust in Lithuania, he also learns a lesson about the importance of remembering. Subtle, yet powerful illustrations underscore the message of this picture book for older readers.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:38 -0400)

After many years of watching the solemn lighting of seven candles at Rosh Hashanah, Eli finally learns how those candles represent his family's connection to the Holocaust in Lithuania.

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