1st Edition

Tolerance Discourse and Young Adult Holocaust Literature
Engaging Difference and Identity

ISBN 9780367346249
Published May 21, 2019 by Routledge
214 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations

USD $49.95

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Book Description

What, exactly, does one mean when idealizing tolerance as a solution to cultural conflict? This book examines a wide range of young adult texts, both fiction and memoir, representing the experiences of young adults during WWII and the Holocaust. Author Rachel Dean-Ruzicka argues for a progressive reading of this literature. Tolerance Discourse and Young Adult Holocaust Literature contests the modern discourse of tolerance, encouraging educators and readers to more deeply engage with difference and identity when studying Holocaust texts. Young adult Holocaust literature is an important nexus for examining issues of identity and difference because it directly confronts systems of power, privilege, and personhood. The text delves into the wealth of material available and examines over forty books written for young readers on the Holocaust and, in the last chapter, neo-Nazism. The book also looks at representations of non-Jewish victims, such as the Romani, the disabled, and homosexuals. In addition to critical analysis of the texts, each chapter reads the discourses of tolerance and cosmopolitanism against present-day cultural contexts: ongoing debates regarding multicultural education, gay and lesbian rights, and neo-Nazi activities. The book addresses essential questions of tolerance and toleration that have not been otherwise considered in Holocaust studies or cultural studies of children’s literature.

Table of Contents


Image and Lyric Permissions



Chapter One

Finding the Other in Anne Frank

Chapter Two

The Complexity of Jewish Lives

Chapter Three

Recognizing All the "Lives Unworthy of Living"

Chapter Four

Good Nazis and German Volk as Victims

Chapter Five

Neo-Nazi Values and Community Response



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Rachel Dean-Ruzicka holds a PhD in American Culture Studies from Bowling Green State University. She is Lecturer of Writing and Communication at Georgia Institute of Technology. Her articles have appeared in Children’s Literature and Education, ImageText, and Female Rebellion in Young Adult Dystopian Fiction.


"Though she does not (and rightly so) come up with a simple formula to settle on what makes for an effective work of YA Holocaust literature, in the end Dean-Ruzicka argues for a comprehensive and multifaceted approach, one that takes into account historical accuracy and complexity of characters as well as considerations of individual works as part of a broader catalog. The book seems like an especially useful resource for those engaged, in a variety of ways, in Holocaust education as well as, more broadly, the field of genocide studies. It would easily complement essential works out there such as Marianne Hirsch and Irene Kacandes’s edited collection, Teaching the Representation of the Holocaust (2004), or Anastasia Ulanowicz’s Second-Generation Memory and Contemporary Children’s Literature (2013)."

- Tahneer Oksman, Marymount Manhattan College, The Lion and the Unicorn