“Benno and the Night of Broken Glass” - Meg Wiviott
“Benno and the Night of Broken Glass” by Meg Wiviott leads the younger generation through the trials of war, although through the eyes of a small cat named Benno. Even though the characters are fictional, the setting and the story portrayed are real events that transpired on November 9, 1938, a night that marked the beginning of the Holocaust for many Jews, as approximately 7,500 Jewish-owned stores and businesses were demolished by Nazi youth gangs and Stormtroopers. The violence unleashed upon the town destroyed Jewish homes and synagogues, killing approximately 100 Jews and injuring hundreds more.
The story follows Benno the cat through his days of sun, friendly pats and ear scratches as he happily strolls through the streets of Berlin until the night the Nazis arrive, leaving in their wake smoldering fires that sting his eyes, broken glass that cuts his paws and screams that make him cower. Using a mix of collage, drawings and digital montage, illustrator Josée Bisaillon deftly captures the kind, resilient nature of the townspeople during this devastating event.
This book can be found in the Children’s Fiction collection and is recommended for ages 7-11.