Maine East High School

Park Ridge, Illinois

 Talking about Kristallnacht and The Book Thief

Hello, Maine East Students! 

I spent a day with ninth grade students recently as part of their study of Markus Zusak's novel The Book Thief. To give students a more complete historical background for the book and to prepare for my visit, they read one of the accounts from my book, Kristallnacht: The Nazi Terror that Began the Holocaust


Answering questions during my talk on Kristallnacht

For my part, I read The Book Thief and prepared a presentation on Kristallnacht. I told you about my background as a writer and how I became interested in researching and writing about the Holocaust. I went into detail about the events in Nazi Germany that led up to Kristallnacht, described the types of terror that was inflicted upon the Jewish population of Germany and Austria during that four-day period, and along the way pointed out some similarities with scenes in Zusak's book, including Max's own experience on Kristallnacht. 


During two lunch periods, I had the chance to talk to different groups of students about writing in an informal Q&A over pizza. I told you how I began my first novel when I was a sophomore in high school and kept working on my idea until I finally finished it and it was published--27 years later! That book was 3 NBs of Julian Drew. If you have an idea for a book, work on it and be persistent! It may take a long time to turn your idea into a publishable book, but it is possible...just remember my own personal example. 


Lunchtime Q&A about writing


I had a wonderful time visiting your school and talking to you. I want to thank your librarian, Rika Ghorbani for arranging my visit and District 207 Education Foundation for providing the funds. 

Keep writing and reading and researching about things that are important to you!