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A Note About Sources

Sources or “texts” can include prose, poetry, art, video, photograph/image, memoir, diaries, archival records, music, memorials, buildings/architecture, and many more.

Scholars and educators frequently divide sources into three categories:

Primary sources:

Primary sources are created during the historical period of inquiry that describe or reflect the events without any added commentary or interpretation. For example, The Diary of Anne Frank, I Never Saw Another Butterfly, and photographs and government documents from the Nazi era and camp network are all primary sources.

Primary sources may also be fictional, what matters is the date of creation. For example, Little Man, What Now? is a novel written by Hans Fallada in 1932 about life in Germany during the early 1930s. It is a primary source about the 1930s because it was written by someone living during those historical events, but it is a fictional story. In American literature, The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald is another example of a fictional primary source. It is a primary source about the 1920s because it was written in 1925 by F Scott Fitzgerald while he was living through the roaring twenties; however, it must be handled as a work of fiction, not a factual re-telling of the era.

Secondary sources:

Secondary sources are sources written about a historical event, period, or text. They often include analysis and summary of the event or text and try to describe, explain, or add value to a primary source/event.

Secondary sources can be fictional and non-fictional. Non-fictional secondary sources include published books, articles, and chapters, generally written by scholars. Secondary sources can be further divided into peer-reviewed (published works by academics or experts that have been rigorously reviewed for accuracy by fellow experts) such as articles or books, and non-peer reviewed, or popular sources, such as blog posts, magazines, or newspaper articles.. Examples of non-fictional secondary sources on our list include most sources listed under “Nonfiction: Prose”, “For Teachers”, and articles such as those published by the USHMM. For more on non-peer-review/popular sources, please see the following article from the University of Denver.

Fictional secondary sources include books like The Book Thief, by Markus Zubak. This is a source of historical fiction set during the Holocaust. While deeply informed, it tells us about how the author is interpreting the events of the Holocaust rather than being an artifact from the Holocaust.

Sometimes there is an overlap between primary and secondary sources, especially when considering works of fiction. For example, Art Spiegelman’s Maus is a secondary source about the Holocaust - Spiegelman recounts a fictionalized version of his father’s Holocaust story, he did not live through the Holocaust himself. It is also a primary source about how the “second generation” (children of Jewish Holocaust survivors) reflect and struggle with their unique relationship to the Holocaust.

Tertiary sources:

Tertiary sources distill, organize, and/or summarize primary or secondary sources. Examples include timelines, almanacs, dictionaries and encyclopedias, indexes, and bibliographies. Additional explanation of primary, secondary, and tertiary sources from the University of Utah.


Literature List

Click a button below to view literature recommendations specific to that genocide, or keep scrolling to view all.


The Armenian Genocide

Fiction Prose / Novel

  • Orhan’s Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian:
    When Orhan's brilliant grandfather, Kemal, is found dead in a vat of dye, Orhan inherits the decades-old rug business. Other provisions in Kemal's will are much more surprising. Kemal has left the family estate to Seda, a stranger living thousands of miles away in a retirement home in Los Angeles. Orhan's family has no idea why Kemal left their home to this woman rather than to his own family.   Intent on finding answers,  Orhan boards a plane to Los Angeles. There he unearths a story that has the power to unravel Kemal's legacy and Orhan's own future. The Fixer: A Story from Sarajevo by Joe Sacco (Secondary source, Fiction)
  • The Gendarme by Mark Mustian (US, 2010):
    At age 92, Emmett Conn has had amnesia for 70 years, caused by his WWI injuries. Following surgery for a brain tumour, his past returns through disturbing dreams. There he relives his actions as a Turkish gendarme in the forced death march of thousands of Armenians into Syria and his obsession with a beautiful young Armenian girl, Araxie. After these revelations, Emmett decides that he must find Araxie and beg her forgiveness. (Secondary source, Fiction, Grade 10+)
  • Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak (Turkish, 2006):
    From one of Turkey's most acclaimed writers, this the story of Asya, her mother and her three aunts who all live together in Istanbul. When the step daughter of Asya's estranged uncle arrives from the States, a secret is uncovered that links the two families and ties them to the 1915 Armenian deportations and massacres. (Secondary source, Fiction, 10+)
  • The Shadows of 1915 by Jerry M. Burger  (US, 2019):
    The story takes place in Central California in 1953, where Armenian immigrants and their families live one generation removed from the 1915 murder of more than a million Armenians at the hands of the Turkish government. An encounter between the sons of a genocide survivor and  some Turkish college students forces each of the main characters to make difficult decisions that pit loyalty to family and community against personal and legal standards of right and wrong. It is a story about a displaced group of people and the consequences of real historic events that have rarely been examined in fiction. It is also a story about culture, family, recovery from tragedy, and the nature of justice. (Secondary source, Fiction)
  • Forgotten Fire by Adam Bagdasarian (2000)
    A story based on the experiences of Bagdasarian great uncle during the Armenian Genocide. See also: Teacher Resources and Readers Guide. (Grade 9+)
  • Forget-Me-Not by Tomáš Houška (Czech, 2017):
    This novel tells the emotional story of the girl Narine during Easter 1915. The events of genocide are seen by the eyes of a girl who finds itself in the epicenter of massacres.(Secondary source, Short fiction, Grade 9+)

Fiction Prose / Short Fiction

  • Our Cross by M. Salpi (Armenian, 1921):
    Originally printed in 1921 in France under the title Mer Khachu, this is a collection of autobiographical short stories from survivors of the 1915 Genocide of the Armenians. The author, whose real name was Aram Sahakian, was a medical officer in the Turkish army during the First World War. There he met many Armenian soldiers and officers who recounted to him the plight of their families following the Turkish deportations and massacres of their communities. After his capture by the British, Sahakian was appointed resident doctor at an Armenian refugee camp in Port Said, Egypt. There, as well as during his sojourns in Syria and Lebanon, he met numerous survivors. (Primary source, fiction, some non-fiction, Grade 10+)

Poetry

  • The Armenian Poetry Project by Various Authors:
    This site features the work of contemporary Armenian poets. The web site offers selection in the original Armenian and in translation. (Grades 10+)
  • "Two Voices” by Diana Der Hovanessian, an Armenian American writer born in the United States:
    Her grandparents came to the United States from Ottoman Armenia. In her poem she reflects on how her family history influences who she is as a person. https://lanetwork.facinghistory.org/honoring-the-armenian-genocide-through-poetry. (Secondary source Armenian Genocide, Primary source 2nd and 3rd generation, Poetry, Grades 6+)
  • The poetry of Peter Balakian:
    Balakian grew up in New Jersey, the son of Armenian parents. As a child he heard scraps of his grandmother Nafina’s past, but he didn’t discover the Armenian genocide of the early 20th century. Shortly thereafter, Balakian learned that his grandmother had been one of the few survivors of a death march in the Syrian desert. (Secondary source Armenian Genocide, Primary source 2nd and 3rd generation, Poetry, Grades 6+)

Drama

  • "Beast on the Moon by Richard Kalinoski (US, 1992)
    A play is about the troubled  relationship between two escapees of the Armenian genocide living in 1920s Milwaukee. (Secondary source, drama, Grades 11+)"
    "Found by Anoush Baghdassarian (US, 2014)
    The play follows the story of Lucine who is searching for her brother who was taken by Turkish soldiers in 1915 at the start of the genocide. The stage is split in half and while ""Old Lucine"" on stage right writes in her diary of memories of the past ten years. At the same time, Young Lucine acts them out on the memories on stage left. (Secondary source, drama, Grades 10+)"
    "The Theatre of Genocide: Four Plays about Mass Murder in Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia, and Armenia 
    by Robert Skloot (Editor, 2008)
     Robert Skloot brings together four plays - three of which are published here for the first time - that fearlessly explore the face of modern genocide. The scripts deal with the destruction of four targeted populations: Armenians in Lorne Shirinian's Exile in the Cradle, Cambodians in Catherine Filloux's Silence of God, Bosnian Muslims in Kitty Felde's A Patch of Earth, and Rwandan Tutsis in Erik Ehn's Maria Kizito. (Secondary source, drama, Grades 10+)"

Other

(e.g., Graphic Novels, Picture Books, Multimodal Texts)

  • iwitness Public Art:
    Homepage for Public Art Installation to commemorate the Armenian Genocide. Provides an overview of the genocide as well as first person testimony. (Primary sources, Secondary sources, Memorial, Grades 6+)

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The Ukrainian Genocide

Fiction Prose / Novel

  • Sweet Snow by Alexander Motyl (Ukraine, 2013):
    The novel is set in the winter of 1933 in Ukraine. A terrible famine is raging in the countryside, while the Soviet secret police is arresting suspected spies in the cities. A German nobleman from Berlin, a Jewish communist from New York, a Polish diplomat from Lwów, and a Ukrainian nationalist from Vienna come to share a cell in some unknown prison. One day, as they are being transported to another prison, their van overturns, their guards are killed, and they are freed—to wander amidst the devastated villages, desolate landscapes, snowbound villages, and frozen corpses. As they struggle to survive, they come to grips with the horror of the famine as well as with their own delusions, weaknesses, and mortality. (Primary source, Fiction, Grades 10+)
  • My Dearest Dido: The Holodomor Story by Marion Mutala (Canada, 2019):
    A haunting account of the innocent victims of Stalin’s vicious regime. In the name of communism, Stalin and his armed units branded Ukrainians traitors and tortured, beat, starved, and shot them – often for the simple crime of eating stalks of grain. This heart-breaking record is based on the voices of survivors and told through letters between Dido Bohdan and his granddaughter Hanusia. Dido was a child during the 1932-1933 Holodomor. (Secondary source based on primary sources, Fiction, Grades 11+)
  • Bottle of Grain: A Holodomor Story by  Rhea Good (Canada, 2020):
    Maria Soroka is a survivor of the Holodomor in Ukraine. During the winter of 1932-1933 Maria was a young girl who experienced great hardships after soldiers seized all the food from her family and the entire village. The complex political background of the Holodomor is personalized in this story of the Soroka family's struggle to survive with nothing to eat. In December 2012, a large bottle full of grain was accidentally found under a tree near the Village of Velyki, near the City of Vinnytsia, Vinnytsia Province, Ukraine. Elderly villagers remembered the Soroka family had been hiding bottles of grain before the winter of the Holodomor. The bottle of grain is the tangible artifact around which this story is built. (Secondary source, Fiction, Grades 8+)
  • Stones Under the Scythe by Olha Mak translated by Vera Kaczmarskyj:
    A coming of age story that follows a young boy and the effects of the famine on his town and his family. (Grades 10+)
  • Maria: The Chronicle of a Life by Ulas Samchuk, Paul Chipywnyk (editor), Roma Z. Franko (translator):
    The story of a village women’s life from the emancipation of the serfs through the famine-genocide. (Grades 10+)

Fiction Prose / Short Fiction

  • A Hunger Most Cruel: The Human Face of the 1932-1933 Terror-Famine in Soviet Ukraine by Anatoliy Dimarov, Yevhen Hutsalo, and Olena Zvychayna. (Ukraine, 2002):
    The theme of this book of Ukrainian short fiction translated into English is the terror-famine that ravaged Soviet Ukrainian territories in the early 1930s. (Primary and Secondary sources, Short fiction, Grade 9+)

Poetry

Drama

  • No literature recommendations are available for this category.

Other

(e.g., Graphic Novels, Picture Books, Multimodal Texts)

  • No literature recommendations are available for this category.

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The Holocaust

Fiction Prose / Novel

  • Train by Danny M. Cohen, 2015:
    The novel takes place in 1943 Berlin, where six teenagers are attempting to escape Nazi round-ups. This thriller focuses on unheard victims of Nazism — the Roma, the disabled, intermarried Jews, homosexuals and political enemies of the regime. (Secondary source, Grades 11+)
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zubak (Australian, 2005):
    Narrated by Death, the novel takes place in 1939 in Nazi Germany. Death narrates the story of Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich. She survives by stealing. Books are one thing she can’t resist. Her accordion-playing foster father, teachers her to read. She shares her stolen books both with her neighbors during bombing raids and the Jewish man hidden in her basement. Along the way, Liesel is witness to the atrocities of war, heartbreaking events, love, loss and other life-changing events. (Secondary source, Fiction, Grades 8+).
  • Comedy in a Minor Key by Hans Keilson (Dutch):
    The short novel tells, originally published in 1947, story of Wim and Marie, a Dutch couple who first hide a Jew they know as Nico, then must dispose of his body when he dies of pneumonia. (Secondary source, Grades 11+)
  • Emil and Karl by (Jacob Glatstein, Yiddish):
    Originally written in Yiddish in 1938, it is one of the first books written for young readers. The novel depicts the early days of what will be known as the Holocaust. Written in the form of a suspense novel, it tells the story of two young boys--one Jewish, the other not--when they suddenly find themselves without families or homes in Vienna on the eve of World War II. Because the book was written before World War II, and before the full revelations of the Third Reich's persecution of Jews and other civilians, it offers a fascinating look at life during this period and the moral challenges people faced under Nazism. (Primary source, Fiction, Grades 6+)
  • Emil and Karl by (Jacob Glatstein, Yiddish):
    Originally written in Yiddish in 1938, it is one of the first books written for young readers. The novel depicts he early days of what will be known as the Holocaust. Written in the form of a suspense novel, it tells the story of two young boys--one Jewish, the other not--when they suddenly find themselves without families or homes in Vienna on the eve of World War II. Because the book was written before World War II, and before the full revelations of the Third Reich's persecution of Jews and other civilians, it offers a fascinating look at life during this period and the moral challenges people faced under Nazism. (Grades 6+)
  • A Meal in Winter by Hubert Mingarelli (France, 2016):
    This novel takes place in winter and tells the story of three German soldiers charged with capturing “one of them”—a Jew—who is hiding in the Polish countryside and bringing him back for execution. Having captured the man, they rest before continuing back to the camp. They are joined by a passing Pole who is rabidly anti-Semitic. After a time, the group’s sympathies begin to shift as each individual must face his conscience. (Grades 11+)
  • Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally (American, 1982)
    A fictional novel based on the true story of how German war profiteer and factory director Oskar Schindler came to save more Jews from the gas chambers than any other single person during World War II. (Secondary source, Fiction, Grades 10+)
  • Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky (France, written in 1940):
    Irene Nemirovsky wrote her novel in 1940 while she was in hiding. The novel is composed of two short novellas (three additional sections were outlined but never completed.) The first section, called "Storm in June," tells the story of French citizens who flee France's largest cities into the countryside as they tried to escape from the German bombs. "Storm in June" follows the lives of five families. (Grades 8+)
  • The Memory Monster by Yishai Sarid (Israel, 2017):
    Written as a report to the chairman of Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, our unnamed narrator recounts his own undoing. Hired as a promising young historian, he soon becomes a leading expert on Nazi methods of extermination at concentration camps in Poland during World War II and guides tours through the sites for students and visiting dignitaries. The job becomes a mission, and then an obsession. Spending so much time immersed in death, his connections with the living begin to deteriorate. (Grades 11+)

Fiction Prose / Short Fiction

  • “The German Refugee” by Bernard Malamud (US, 1963):
    The narrator, Martin Goldberg, relates his attempts to teach English to a German refugee, Oskar Gassner, who is to give a lecture in English about American poet Walt Whitman’s relationship to certain German poets. Two distinct stories emerge: Oskar’s anguish and his failure to learn English, as well as the irony of the narrator’s failure to understand why. While Martin teaches Oskar English, the German army begins its summer push of 1939. What the narrator fails to realize is his student’s deep involvement with his former country’s fate and that of his non-Jewish wife, whom he left there. (Grades 11+)
  • "The Shawl" and “Rosa” by Cyntia Ozick (US, 1980 and 1983):
    "The Shawl" tells the story of three characters: Rosa, Magda, and Stella on their march to and internment in a Nazi concentration camp. "Rosa" is the follow up to 'The Shawl'. It takes place in 1977 and focuses on survivors and how they deal with post-WWII trauma. (Secondary source, Grades 10+)
  • A Scrap of Time by Ida Fink (Polish, 1987):
    A collection of fictional short stories relating various characters to the Jewish experience of the Holocaust. (Secondary source, Short fiction, Grades 8+)
  • This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen by Tadeusz Borowski (Polish, 1967):
    Collection of twelve short stories which illuminate the sinister realities of human behavior in the camps. (Secondary source, Grades 10+)

Poetry

  • I Keep Recalling: The Holocaust Poems of Jacob Glatstein by Jacob Glatstein (Yiddish, trasn. 1993):
    I Keep Recalling is a translation of the Holocaust poems of Jacob Glatstein. His Holocaust poems give voice to the anguish of both the victims in Europe and the helpless onlookers in America and elsewhere. (Primary source, Poetry, Grades 11+)
  • The Collected Poems of Nelly Sachs, 1944-1949 by Nelly Sachs (German/Swedish):
    Dramatist and poet Nelly Sachs was born into a Jewish family in Berlin in 1891. Sachs published her early poems in magazines in Germany. She and her mother escaped to Sweden in 1940, where she worked as a translator and became a citizen in 1952. Sachs’s readings of the mystics and the events of the Holocaust influenced her poem cycles and plays. (Primary source, Poetry)
  • Selected Poems by Dan Pagis “Testimony,” “The Roll Call,” “Written in Pencil in the Sealed Railway-Car,” “Instructions for Crossing the Border,” “Draft of a Reparations Agreement”  by Dan Pagis (Israel):
    These poems focus on select aspects of the Holocaust. The five poems do not form a composite picture of the Holocaust.   He was born in in 1930. He spent his early years in a Nazi concentration camp. He escaped and immigrated to pre-state Israel in 1946. (Primary source, Poetry, Grades 9+ )
  • Selected Poems by Paul Celan: “Death Fugue,” “O, Little Root of a Dream,” “You Were My Death,” by Paul Celan (German):
    Celan (pen name of Paul Antschel) was born in Romania to German-speaking Jewish parents. His mother and father died in Nazi death camps and Celan was a concentration camp prisoner himself for eighteen months before escaping to join the Red Army. (Primary source, Poetry, Grades 9+)

Drama

  • God on Trial by Frank Cottrell-Boyce (British, 2008):
    This is a television play that wrestles with the question, ""How can a benevolent God allow the Holocaust to happen?"" Based on an event described by Elie Wiesel in his book, The Trial of God, Jewish prisoners in Auschwitz put God on trial in absentia for abandoning His chosen people. God on Trial was produced by the BBC and screened as part of the PBS Masterpiece anthology in the US. (Secondary source, Drama, Grades 11+ )
  • Playing for Time by Artur Miller (US, 1980):
     Vased on the experiences of Fania Fénelon (The Musicians of Auschwitz) 1980), a television play about her survival in Auschwitz. A French Jewish singer and pianist, Fénelon survies by becoming a member of the Woman's Orchestra of Auschwitz. (Secondary source, Drama, Grades 11+)
  • Theater of the Holocaust, Vol 1 (Robert Skloot):
    This collection includes 4 plays: Resort 76 by Shimon Wincelberg, Throne of Straw by Harold and Edith Lieberman, The Cannibals by George Tabori, and Who Will Carry the World by Charlotte Delbo ( translated by Cynthia Haft). (Primary and Secondary sources, Drama, Grades 10+)
  • Who Will Carry the Word by Charlotte Delbo (French, 1983):
    Based on the true story of Charlotte Delbo, arrested as a member of the French Resistance) Who Will Carry The Word? tells the story of of 20 women sharing a barracks in Auschwitz. Their goal is to keep the strongest of them alive so that someone can share their experiences with the world. (Primary source, Grades 10+)

Other

(e.g., Graphic Novels, Picture Books, Multimodal Texts)

  • MAUS I and II (Art Speigelman):
    Maus I and II depict Art Spiegelman's interviews with his parents - Valdek and Anja - about their experiences living through the Holocaust. Maus I describes Spiegelman's parent's struggles and survival in Poland until they were deported to Auschwitz in 1944. Maus II focuses on Vladek's survivial in Auschwitz and reunion with his wife, Anja. Told through the medium of graphic novels, Maus weaves together the accounts of Holocaust survivors and the post war struggles faced by survivors and the "second generation" (children of survivors), including themes such as survival guilt, familial guilt, and suicide. (Secondary source - survivor testimony, Primary source - second generation, Graphic novel, Grades 9+)
  • I Never Saw Another Butterfly: Children's Drawings and Poems from the Terezin Concentration Camp, 1942-1944:
    A collection of drawings and poems created in the Terezin concentration camp and complied by Czech art historian, Hana Volavková, after WWII. This collection is unique in that it gives voice to the experiences of children in the Holocaust. (Primary source, Grades 6+)
  • Graphic Novel: Moving Pictures by Kathryn Immonen (Author), Stuart Immonen (Artist) (Canadian, 2010):
    This historical graphic novel explores the personal relationships involved in protecting internationally recognized works of fine art during the Nazi occupation of Paris. (Secondary source, Graphic novel, Grades: 10+)

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Cultural Revolution/ Great Leap Forward

Fiction Prose / Novel

  • Mao’s Last Dancer:
    The story of internationally renowned ballet dancer Li Cunxin. Born in 1961, he was selected by delegates of Madame Mao to leave his small town to become a dancer. Madame Mao coordinated the media and arts during the Cultural Revolution. In 1979, Cunxin was selected to train in  Houston, and he later defected from China to live in the United States. He describes life in China before and during the Cultural Revolution, and analyzes relations between China and the United States. (Primary source, Grades 4+)
  • Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party:
    Nine-year-old Ling has a very happy life. Her parents are both dedicated surgeons at the best hospital in Wuhan, and her father teaches her English as they listen to Voice of America every evening on the radio. But when one of Mao's political officers moves into a room in their apartment, Ling begins to witness the gradual disintegration of her world. (Secondary source, Grades 4+)
  • Snow Falling in Spring: Coming of Age in China During the Cultural Revolution:
    In 1966 Moying, a student at a prestigious language school in Beijing, seems destined for a promising future. Everything changes when student Red Guards begin to orchestrate brutal assaults, violent public humiliations, and forced confessions. After watching her teachers and headmasters beaten in public, Moying flees school for the safety of home, only to witness her beloved grandmother denounced, her home ransacked, her father's precious books flung onto the back of a truck, and Baba himself taken away. (Primary source, Grades 7+)
  • Blood Red Sunset: A Memoir of the Chinese Cultural Revolution:
    In 1968, a fervent young Red Guard joined the army of hotheaded adolescents who trekked to Inner Mongolia to spread the Cultural Revolution. After gaining a reputation as a brutal abuser of the local herd owners and nomads, Ma Bo casually criticized a Party Leader. Denounced as an “active counterrevolutionary” and betrayed by his friends, the idealistic youth was brutally beaten and imprisoned. (Primary source, Grades 9+)

Fiction Prose / Short Fiction

  • Heroes of China’s Great Leap Forward
    Heroes of China’s Great Leap Forward presents contrasting narratives of the most ambitious and disastrous mass movement in modern Chinese history. The objective of the Great Leap, when it was launched in the late 1950s, was to catapult China into the ranks of the great military and industrial powers with no assistance from the outside world; it resulted in a famine that killed tens of millions of the nation’s peasants. (Secondary sources Grades 10+)

Poetry

  • No literature recommendations are available for this category.

Drama

  • No literature recommendations are available for this category.

Other

(e.g., Graphic Novels, Picture Books, Multimodal Texts)

  • No literature recommendations are available for this category.

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Cambodian Genocide

Fiction Prose / Novel

  • In the Shadow of Banyan by Vaddey Ratner:
    This best-selling novel tells the story of a seven-year-old in Cambodia who has an anything but ordinary childhood. She experiences death of family members, starvation and forced labour, but through holding on to tales from her father, she’s able to survive. The novel is told by author Vaddey Ratner, who took inspiration from her own experience living through the Khmer Rouge regime as a little girl. (Primary source - based on personal experiences, Fiction, Grades 10+)
  • Children of the River by Linda Crew:
    A novel that tells the story of a twelve- year- old girl growing up in Cambodia and how she escapes the Khmer Rouge. See also: Teacher Resources. (Grades 6+)
  • Year of the Rabbit by Tian Veasna (Cambodia, 2020):
    The true story of one family’s desperate struggle to survive the murderous reign of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. Veasna was born just three days after the Khmer Rouge takeover, as his family set forth on the chaotic mass exodus from Phnom Penh. Year of the Rabbit is based on firsthand accounts, all told from the perspective of his parents and other close relatives. Stripped of any money or material possessions, Veasna’s family found themselves exiled to the barren countryside along with thousands of others, where food was scarce and brutal violence a constant threat. (Primary source - based on firsthand accounts, Fiction, Grades 8+)
  • Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick (US, 2012):
    Hisotrical novel based on the true story of survivor Arn Chorn-Pond. He was a young boy when the regime took over, was separated from his family and was forced into working at a labour camp and becoming a soldier. But, he lived to tell the tale. (Secondary source, Fiction, Grades 8+)

Fiction Prose / Short Fiction

  • No literature recommendations are available for this category.

Poetry

  • A Nail the Evening Hangs On Paperback by Monica Sok (Khmer, 2020):
    Through poetry Sok re/shapes a family’s memory about the Khmer Rouge regime according to a child of refugees. Driven by myth-making and fables, the poems examine the inheritance of the genocide and the profound struggles of searing grief and PTSD. (Primary source, Poetry, Grades 9+)
  • Sacred Vows by U Sam Oeur (Cambodian, 1998):
    U Sam Oeur grew up in a Cambodian farming family. After studying in the US, he served in the Cambodian government, becoming part of the Cambodian delegation to the UN. When Pol Pot assumed power in 1975, Oeur, along with his wife and son, survived the killing fields while feigning illiteracy in six forced-labor camps. (Primary source, Poetry)

Drama

  • The Theatre of Genocide: Four Plays about Mass Murder in Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia, and Armenia by Robert Skloot (Editor, 2008):
    Robert Skloot brings together four plays - three of which are published here for the first time - that fearlessly explore the face of modern genocide. The scripts deal with the destruction of four targeted populations: Armenians in Lorne Shirinian's Exile in the Cradle, Cambodians in Catherine Filloux's Silence of God, Bosnian Muslims in Kitty Felde's A Patch of Earth, and Rwandan Tutsis in Erik Ehn's Maria Kizito. (Primary and Secondary sources, Drama, Grades 10+)

Other

(e.g., Graphic Novels, Picture Books, Multimodal Texts)

  • Year of the Rabbit (Graphic Novel) by Tian Veasna (trans. by Helge Dascher) (2020):
    The Khmer Rouge takeover of Phnom Penh is seen in a new light in Year of the Rabbit, a graphic memoir that follows the journey of Lina, Khim, their son Chan, and their extended family members. Graphic in format, graphic in content, it is a story of resilience and hope, and a profound testimony to one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century. (Primary source, Grades 9+)

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Rwandan Genocide

Fiction Prose / Novel

  • Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron (US, 2010):
    Jean Patrick Nkuba knows that running will be his life to the moment he must run to save his life. A naturally gifted athlete, he sprints over the thousand hills of Rwanda and dreams of becoming his country’s first Olympic medal winner in track. But Jean Patrick is a Tutsi in a world that has become increasingly restrictive and violent for his people. As tensions mount between the Hutu and Tutsi, he holds fast to his dream that running might deliver him, and his people, from the brutality around them. (Secondary source, Fiction)
  • Murambi, The Book of Bones by Boubacar Boris Diop (Senegal, 2000):
    The novel recounts the story of a Rwandan history teacher, Cornelius Uvimana, who was living and working in Djibouti at the time of the massacre. He returns to Rwanda to try to comprehend the death of his family and to write a play about the events that took place there. As the novel unfolds, Cornelius begins to understand that it is only our humanity that will save us, and that as a writer, he must bear witness to the atrocities of the genocide. (Primary source, Fiction)
  • Broken Memory: A Novel of Rwanda by Elizabeth Combres:
    The story of a young Tutsi girl as her family is torn apart and is forced into hiding due to the Rwandan Genocide. See also: Teacher Resources. (Secondary source, Fiction, Grades 6+)
  • Over a Thousand Hills I Walk With You by Hanna Jasen:
    A young Tutsi girl flees Rwanda with her family in hopes of escaping Hutu soldiers. (Grades 6+)
  • Cockroaches Paperback by Scholastique Mukasonga (Reanda, 2016):
    Cockroaches is the story of growing up a Tutsi in Hutu-dominated Rwanda—the story of a happy child, a loving family, all wiped out in the genocide of 1994. A vivid, bittersweet depiction of family life and bond in a time of immense hardship, it is also a story of incredible endurance, and the duty to remember that loss and those lost while somehow carrying on. Sweet, funny, wrenching, and deeply moving, Cockroaches is a window onto an unforgettable world of love, grief, and horror. (Primary source, Fiction)

Fiction Prose / Short Fiction

  • Igifu by Scholastique Mukasonga. (Rwanda, 2020):
    A collection of autobiographical stories that depict live in Rwanda before the onset of war and violence. In the title story, five-year-old Colomba tells of a merciless overlord, hunger or igifu, gnawing away at her belly. She searches for sap at the bud of a flower, scraps of sweet potato at the foot of her parent's bed, or a few grains of sorghum in the floor sweepings. Igifu becomes a dizzying hole in her stomach, a plunging abyss into which she falls. In a desperate act of preservation, Colomba's mother gathers enough sorghum to whip up a nourishing porridge, bringing Colomba back to life. This elixir courses through each story, a balm to soothe the pains of those so ferociously fighting for survival. (Primary source, Short fiction)

Poetry

Drama

  • The Theatre of Genocide: Four Plays about Mass Murder in Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia, and Armenia by Robert Skloot (Editor, 2008):
    Robert Skloot brings together four plays - three of which are published here for the first time - that fearlessly explore the face of modern genocide. The scripts deal with the destruction of four targeted populations: Armenians in Lorne Shirinian's Exile in the Cradle, Cambodians in Catherine Filloux's Silence of God, Bosnian Muslims in Kitty Felde's A Patch of Earth, and Rwandan Tutsis in Erik Ehn's Maria Kizito. (Primary and Secondary sources, Drama, Grades 10+)

Other

(e.g., Graphic Novels, Picture Books, Multimodal Texts)

  • Deogratias, A Tale of Rwanda by J.P Stassen:
    A graphic novel that follows a Tutsi boy during the Rwandan Genocide. See also: Teacher Resources and Lesson Plan. (Grades 7+)

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Genocide in Bosnia & Herzegovina

Fiction Prose / Novel

  • The Cellist of Sarajevo, by Steven Galloway:
    From his window, a musician sees twenty-two of his friends and neighbors waiting in a breadline. Then, in a flash, they are killed by a mortar attack. In an act of defiance, the man picks up his cello and decides to play at the site of the shelling for twenty-two days, honoring their memory. Elsewhere, a young man leaves home to collect drinking water for his family and, in the face of danger, must weigh the value of generosity against selfish survivalism. A third man, older, sets off in search of bread and distraction and instead runs into a long-ago friend who reminds him of the city he thought he had lost, and the man he once was. As both men are drawn into the orbit of cello music, a fourth character—a young woman, a sniper—holds the fate of the cellist in her hands. As she protects him with her life, her own army prepares to challenge the kind of person she has become. Based on a true story. (Secondary source, Fiction, Grades 9+)
  • Girl at War by Sara Nović. Zagreb, summer of 1991:
    Ten-year-old Ana Jurić is a carefree tomboy who runs the streets of Croatia's capital with her best friend, Luka, takes care of her baby sister, Rahela, and idolizes her father. But as civil war breaks out across Yugoslavia, soccer games and school lessons are supplanted by sniper fire and air raid drills. When tragedy suddenly strikes, Ana is lost to a world of guerilla warfare and child soldiers; a daring escape plan to America becomes her only chance for survival. Ten years later Ana is a college student in New York. She's been hiding her past from her boyfriend, her friends, and most especially herself. Haunted by the events that forever changed her family, she returns alone to Croatia, where she must rediscover the place that was once her home and search for the ghosts of those she's lost. (Secondary source, Fiction, Grades 8+)
  • Flowers for Sarajevo by John McCutcheon:
    The moving story of a young boy who discovers the power of beauty and kindness during a time of war. Drasko helps his father sell flowers in Sarajevo, but when war threatens and his father is called to the battlefront, Drasko must take over the flower stall. One morning the boys familiar routine is shattered when a mortar shell hits the bakery, killing twenty-two people. The next day, a cellist from the Sarajevo Opera Orchestra goes to the crater and plays the most beautiful music that Drasko can imagine. Inspired, he looks for ways to ease the sorrow of those around him. (Secondary source, Fiction, Grades 6+)

Fiction Prose / Short Fiction

  • Biber: Short Stories on Reconciliation:
    The volume, containing some forty stories by authors from all around the region, represents a unique glimpse into the events of the 1990s and the trauma it has wrought both on those who lived through it and who are still living in its aftermath. (Primary source, Short fiction, Grades 10+)

Poetry

Drama

  • Mirad, a Boy from Bosnia by Ad de Bont:
    That play was about a Bosnian boy who had lost almost all of his beloved ones in the war in Bosnia–Herzegovina. Ultimately, he comes to Holland as a refugee, but returns to Bosnia to find his mother, almost the only one of the family who has not been murdered. The story of his wanderings through the war zones is told by his uncle and aunt, who also arrive in Holland as refugees and find a letter by Mirad in his former shelter. (Secondary source, Drama, Grades 10+ )
  • The Theatre of Genocide: Four Plays about Mass Murder in Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia, and Armenia by Robert Skloot (Editor)
    Robert Skloot brings together four plays - three of which are published here for the first time - that fearlessly explore the face of modern genocide. The scripts deal with the destruction of four targeted populations: Armenians in Lorne Shirinian's Exile in the Cradle, Cambodians in Catherine Filloux's Silence of God, Bosnian Muslims in Kitty Felde's A Patch of Earth, and Rwandan Tutsis in Erik Ehn's Maria Kizito. (Primary and Secondary sources, Drama, Grades 10+)

Other

(e.g., Graphic Novels, Picture Books, Multimodal Texts)

  • Safe Area Gorazde: The War in Eastern Bosnia 1992-1995 by Joe Sacco:
    Sacco spent five months in Bosnia in 1996, immersing himself in the human side of life during wartime, researching stories that are rarely found in conventional news coverage, emerging with this astonishing first-person account. (Primary source, Graphic novel, Grades 10+)
  • The Fixer: A Story from Sarajevo by Joe Sacco:
    Joe Sacco goes behind the scene of war correspondence to reveal the anatomy of the big scoop. He begins by returning us to the dying days of Balkan conflict and introduces us to his own fixer; a man looking to squeeze the last bit of profit from Bosnia before the reconstruction begins. Thanks to a complex relationship with the fixer Joe discovers the crimes of opportunistic warlords and gangsters who run the countryside in times of war. But the west is interested in a different spin on the stories coming out of Bosnia. Almost ten years later, Joe meets up with his fixer and sees how the new Bosnian government has "dealt" with these criminals and Joe ponders who is holding the reins of power these days. (Primary source, Graphic novel, Grades 10+)
  • 10 Stages of Genocide; Discrimination: Bosnia, Safe Zone:
    Gregory Stanton and the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum. Safe Zone approaches the genocide in Bosnia through the perspective of an archaeologist excavating a mass grave. It includes the history of the conflict, the killing, the post-war trials, and genocide denial in a short, easily accessible graphic novel. Can be use alone, or in conjunction with the other 10 Stages of Genocide. (Secondary source, Grades 6+)

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The Genocide in Darfur

Fiction Prose / Novel

  • The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney, Shane W. Evans (Illustrations) (US, 2014):
    Life in Amira's peaceful Sudanese village is shattered when Janjaweed attackers arrive, unleashing unspeakable horrors. After losing nearly everything, Amira needs to find the strength to make the long journey on foot to safety at a refugee camp. She begins to lose hope, until the gift of a simple red pencil opens her mind -- and all kinds of possibilities. (Primary source, Fiction, Grades 6+)
  • A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story by Linda Sue Park (US, 2010):
    A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the “lost boys” of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way. (Secondary source - based on a true story, Fiction, Grades 6+)
  • What Is the What by Dave Eggers:
    A novel based on the life of Valentino Achak Deng who, along with thousands of other children —the so-called Lost Boys—was forced to leave his village in Sudan at the age of seven and trek hundreds of miles by foot, pursued by militias, government bombers, and wild animals, crossing the deserts of three countries to find freedom. When he finally is resettled in the United States, he finds a life full of promise, but also heartache and myriad new challenges. (Primary source - collaboratively written biography, Fiction, Grades 11+)
  • The Milk of Birds by Sylvia Whitman (US, 2013):
    Fifteen-year-old Nawra lives in Darfur, Sudan, in a camp for refugees displaced by the Janjaweed’s trail of murder and destruction. Nawra cannot read or write, but when a nonprofit organization called Save the Girls pairs her with an American donor, Nawra dictates her thank-you letters. Putting her experiences into words begins to free her from her devastating past - and to brighten the path to her future. K. C. is an American teenager from Richmond, Virginia, who hates reading and writing - or anything that smacks of school. But as Nawra pours grief and joy into her letters, she inspires K. C. to see beyond her own struggles. And as K. C. opens her heart in her responses to Nawra, she becomes both a dedicated friend and a passionate activist for Darfur. (Secondary source, Fiction, Grades 10+)

Fiction Prose / Short Fiction

  • Jebel Marra Stories by Michelle Greene Poet (British, 2015):
    Michelle Green’s collection of short stories explores some of the complexities of the ongoing war in Darfur, and draws upon her own experiences as well as her subsequent research. Though the stories are fictional, they are all rooted in a particular time and place, and informed by the day-to-day realities of life in a time of chaos and horror. They are stories of local traders, aid workers, soldiers, politicians, parents, and children, all living in the middle of what was described by the United Nations as “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.” Exploring and exposing the causes, consequences, and conditions of the war, this collection is a stirring reminder of the intricate issues that still face Darfur since the separation of the Sudan. (Primary and Secondary source, Poetry).

Poetry

  • Sisters' Entrance by Emtithal Mahmoud. (Sudan, 2018):
    This collection traverses an expansive terrain: genocide; diaspora; the guilt of surviving; racism and Islamophobia; the burdens of girlhood; the solace of sisterhood; the innocence of a first kiss. Heart-wrenching and raw, defiant and empowering, Sisters’ Entrance explores how to speak the unspeakable. See also: Emtithal Mamhoud TED Talk, UN Refugee Agency on Emtithal Mamhoud, Teacher Resources(Primary source, Poetry)

Drama

  • No literature recommendations are available for this category.

Other

(e.g., Graphic Novels, Picture Books, Multimodal Texts)

  • No literature recommendations are available for this category.

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The Uyghurs

Fiction Prose / Novel

  • No literature recommendations are available for this category.

Fiction Prose / Short Fiction

  • No literature recommendations are available for this category.

Poetry

Drama

  • No literature recommendations are available for this category.

Other

(e.g., Graphic Novels, Picture Books, Multimodal Texts)

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