Yellow Star

Yellow Star
by Jennifer Roy

Publishing Information: Marshall Cavendish: New York, 2006
ISBN: 076145277X / 0739349082 (Audio)
: 242 p.

Ages: 10 & Up

Syvia was 4 years old when the Nazis forced Jews from her area of Poland into the Lodz Ghetto. Six years later, she was one of only 12 child survivors to be liberated from the ghetto.

Yellow Staris based on the true story of Jennifer Roy's aunt Syvia's childhood in the Lodz Ghetto. While a quarter of a million Jews entered the ghetto, only 800 were left alive when liberation came in 1945. 

Book Talk:
Years of hunger, of being cold, of being scared fade into the distance as Syvia copes with the newest indignity in her life, hiding in a hole in the cemetery. Her father is doing his best to keep her alive when so many other children of the Lodz ghetto are being moved. But moved to where, her father wonders, as he tries to keep his family together.

If she survives the day in the cemetery hole, what happens next? She has already given up so much of her childhood. Gone are the days of playing with friends, she has no toys, her last birthday was celebrated without even a piece of bread, and now, she is threatened with being separated from her family. Her family is ALL she has left in life - how can the soldiers be so cruel to the youngest members of the Lodz ghetto?

Will her father keep her safe today in the cemetery? And what about tomorrow, and the tomorrow after that? How can survival be this difficult when you are only 10 years old?

Subject Headings and Themes:
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
Lodz Ghetto

Awards & Reviews:

ALA Notable Children's Book, 2007
Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, 2006
Sydney Taylor Book Award Honor Book, 2007
National Jewish Book Awards Finalist, 2006
School Library Journal Best Book , 2006
The New York Public Library "100 Titles for Reading and Sharing", 2006

Discussion Questions and Ideas:

  1. Why is the book titled Yellow Star ? What does the yellow star symbolize?
  2. How does Syvia's imagination help her through the hard times?
  3. What is the meaning of the saying, "Live for today, for tomorrow we may fry in the pan!"? (page 38)
  4. Discuss the use of color throughout the book. Give specific examples.
  5. Which character is most like you? Why?

~ from "Yellow Star Guides for Teachers and Book groups" by Jennifer Roy .
See this web site for more discussion questions and curriculum ideas:

Related Websites:
Jennifer Roy's Website - 

The Holocaust Chronicle, Publications International, Ltd, April 2000 at

Holocaust Education Foundation at

The Lodz Ghetto, Jewish Virtual Library -

Museum of Tolerance -

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum -

A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust at

Voice/Vision: Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive at

Voices of the Holocaust at

Yad Vashem: The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority -

Spiritual, Educational, and physical resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto by Sol A. Factor -

Teaching the Holocaust: "Light from the Yellow Star" Leads the Way by Nancy Gorrell, English Journal, Vol. 86 No. 8, December 1997

Anna Is Still Here by Ida Vos, 1993
Anne Frank and Me by Cherie Bennett & Jeff Gottesfeld, 2001
Briar Rose by Jane Yolen, 1972
The Cage by Ruth Minsky Sender, 1986
To Life by Ruth Minsky Sender, 1988
Child of the Warsaw Ghetto by David Adler, 1995
Daniel's Story by Carol Matas, 1993
Dawn by Elie Wiesel, 1970
The Devil in Vienna by Doris Orgel, 1978
The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen, 1988
Escape to the Forest: Based on a True Story of the Holocaust by Ruth Y. Radin, 2000
Friedrich by Hans Peter Richter, 1970
Greater than Angel by Carol Matas, 1998
Hide and Seek by Ida Vos, 1991
I Have Lived a Thousand Years: Growing Up in the Holocaust by Livia Bitton-Jackson, 1997
Jacob's Rescue: A Holocaust Story by Malkar Drucker, 1993
My Bridges of Hope: Searching for Life and Love After Auschwitz by Livia Bitton-Jackson, 1999
The Man in the Box by Thomas Moran, 1997
Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli, 2003
Night by Elie Wiesel, 1960
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, 1989
The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss, 1972
The Journey Back by Johanna Reiss, 1976
Upon the Head of the Goat: A Childhood in Hungary, 1939-1944 by Aranka Siegal, 1981
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by J. Kerr, 1971

Other Books by the Author:
This is Jennifer Roy's first novel.

About the Author:
Jennifer Roy has had over 30 books published for children and young adults. A former Gifted and Talented teacher and special education teacher, Roy holds a M.A. in Elementary Education and a B.S. in Psychology. She lives in Upstate New York with her husband (and sometime co-author) Gregory and their young son. "I love reading, drawing, playing piano, napping, talking way too much on the telephone, scrapbooking, and - most of all - being with my family." ~ Jennifer Roy

Find out more about Jennifer Roy at Read an interview with Jennifer Roy at 

Meet Jennifer Roy's identical twin sister, Julia DeVillers (author of How My Private, Personal Journal Became a Bestseller) at