Children's Literature @ NYPL
Booktalking "The Doll With the Yellow Star" by Yona Zeldis McDonough
Claudine and her family are forced to wear yellow stars on their overcoats so that anyone outside can readily identify them as Jews. Claudine is offended by the injustice and humiliation that the stars represent, but her mother seems more concerned about the food shortages and other problems in Paris. Even the food that is available is half-rotten. Claudine carefully sews a yellow star of David on the inside of her doll Violette's coat so that the doll can show the star when she pleases and have some control over the ignominy.
Claudine carries Violette everywhere, including on the ship from France to America, where she meets a girl named Mathilde who has a stuffed monkey named Jax. The four have loads of fun on the boat until a terrible fire separates Claudine from Violette, and the girl is unable to retrieve her doll. However, Claudine is elated to discover that she is not required to wear the yellow star in New York City. Her aunt and uncle provide a kind reprieve from the unnecessary shame that infiltrated her life in France.
I used to be a synagogue librarian, and I like Judaism. I like the careful, poignant illustrations in this book. It's horrible that a group of people has been so persecuted throughout history simply because of their religion. This is a thought-provoking doll book about the distasteful events of World War II.