The Tattooist of Auschwitz

In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.

Imprisoned for more than two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov’s experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions. 

 

I quite enjoy historical books.  It is always interesting to see things from the point of view of people who lived during the time.  This book does not disappoint. It sets out the hardships endured, the cruelty encountered but it also shows how the prisoners were able to keep a flicker of hope alive.  A first hand accounting of the life (good and bad) of a prisoner tasked with tattooing new prisoners. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

The Handmaid’s Tale graphic novel

Everything Handmaids wear is red: the colour of blood, which defines us.

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, where women are prohibited from holding jobs, reading, and forming friendships. She serves in the household of the Commander and his wife, and under the new social order she has only one purpose: once a month, she must lie on her back and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if they are fertile. But Offred remembers the years before Gilead, when she was an independent woman who had a job, a family, and a name of her own. Now, her memories and her will to survive are acts of rebellion.

I read this novel many years ago which definitely helped to understand this graphic novel.  I’m not sure how much one would really understand of this book without the background provided in the novel.   This book illustrates a very different world from what we live in, the extreme that could happen. Did I enjoy it – no. I didn’t enjoy the book the first time and the graphic novel did not change my opinion.  Maybe this is because it goes against everything that I believe the world should be. I believe in equality, all people being equal, and the world depicted in this book is the polar opposite.

Two Can Keep a Secret

Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery’s never been there, but she’s heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows.  The town is picture-perfect, but it’s hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone’s declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing.

I enjoy a good psychological thriller so this book fit the bill.  This book has a number of twists and turns which keep the reader guessing as to who done it.  There are a few under stories going on as well but they fit well with the main mystery. I highly recommend this book to all readers.

HIT List 2018-19 Finale

The final prize draws were held on Wednesday, June 5.  All participating students were awarded Big Mac and Taco Time coupons.  Draws were made for Pita Pit coupons, Tim Horton’s $5 Gift Cards, $25 Mall Gift Cards, Cineplex 2 for 1, Mr. E’s Solve-It-Torium, Mavericks tickets, Boston Pizza $5 Gift Cards, Burger King $10 Gift Card and Hooplas entry passes.  The Grand Prizes were a Kindle e-reader won by Caitlin Watson and a Chromebook won by Max Sept.  We would like to thank all of our sponsors this year – Medicine Hat Tigers Hockey Club Ltd., Burger King, Pancotto Enterprises Ltd. (McDonald’s), Pita Pit, Booster Juice, Mr. E’s Solve-It-Torium, Boston Pizza, EIWM Holdings (Tim Horton’s), EBHS Chess Club, Mavericks Baseball Club and Hooplas Family Entertainment Center.  Congratulations to all the participants.  Grade 10 and 11 students stay tuned for HIT List 2019-2020 with more great books to read and more great prizes to be won.

Allegedly

Mary B. Addison killed a baby.  Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.

This is a fantastic book about a young girl who allegedly commits a crime. We follow her tumultuous life in a group home and learn of the struggles she had as a child. The characters are so well developed that you can’t help but be drawn in and root for Mary.  But at the end you really have to wonder, did she…..

Long Way Down

A cannon. A strap. A piece. A biscuit. A burner. A heater. A chopper. A gat. A hammer. A tool for RULE

Or, you can call it a gun. That’s what fifteen-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he?

This is an easy, quick read as it is written in verse.  Will is on his way to get his brother’s killer but is battling with his conscience as he rides down in the elevator. It is a good story showing how many things can be connected.  And the ending is left up in the air, did he do it?

To Look a Nazi in the Eye

The true story of nineteen-year-old Jordana Lebowitz’s time at the trial of Oskar Groening, known as the bookkeeper of Auschwitz, a man charged with being complicit in the death of more than 300,000 Jews. A granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, Jordana attended the trial. She realized that by witnessing history she gained the knowledge and legitimacy to be able to stand in the footsteps of the survivors.

I enjoyed this book, but unfortunately not as much as I thought I would.  I expected more from it. The historical aspect is very interesting and it is impressive how Jordana was able to get herself to Germany for the trials.  Jordana is a terrific young person who will make things happen in her life.

 

The Marrow Thieves

In a futuristic world ravaged by global warming, people have lost the ability to dream, and the dreamlessness has led to widespread madness. The only people still able to dream are North America’s Indigenous people, and it is their marrow that holds the cure for the rest of the world. But getting the marrow, and dreams, means death for the unwilling donors. Driven to flight, a fifteen-year-old and his companions struggle for survival, attempt to reunite with loved ones and take refuge from the “recruiters” who seek them out to bring them to the marrow-stealing “factories.”

Going into this book I wasn’t really sure about it and now that I’ve read it I’m still not that sure.  Not that it is a bad book, it’s okay I was just a bit disappointed by the ending, I was expecting more.  The book depicts an interesting take on the future and how twisted society can become even when you would think that we would learn from our past mistakes.

Pizza Party

The first round of HIT List draws was made at a pizza party on Wednesday. Congratulations to all of the HIT List winners. The big winners were Sierra Gold with a 2 for 1 Cineplex pass, a Mr. E’s Solve-It-Torium pass and a Medicine Hat Tigers team signed hockey stick and Wesley Ewert won the Kobo e-reader. We would like to THANK the following sponsors for their generosity in supporting the HIT List:
EBHS Chess Club
Medicine Hat Tigers Hockey Club Ltd.
EIWM Holdings (Tim Hortons)
Booster Juice
Burger King
Pancotto Enterprises Ltd. (McDonald’s)
Pita Pit
Mr. E’s Solve-It-Torium
Boston Pizza

Heavy Freight

Fifteen-year-old Maxwell Stone has been surviving and thriving in the tough part of East Vancouver by being smart and fast. But when a drug deal goes wrong, Max suddenly finds himself on the run from both the bad guys and the cops. Desperate to escape, Max impulsively decides to hop on a moving freight train. His first attempt to climb aboard fails, but at the last second a hand reaches down and pulls him in. Joseph has been riding the rails for years, and his tales inspire Max to take a journey to the last place he ever expected to go.

I looked forward to reading this book as it is written by Sigmund Brouwer and he doesn’t disappoint.  There is great action right from the start with awesome characters. A great story with important messages contained.  I highly recommend everyone read this book.