OCT OEEO

PS_June_2018

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R E V I E W S 43 June 2018 | Professionally Speaking PHOTOS: STEPHEN FERRIE On the Spectrum, Second Story Press, Toronto, 2017, softcover, ISBN 978-1-77260-042-1, 336 pages, $13.95, distributed by University of Toronto Press, utpress.utoronto.ca To Look a Nazi in the Eye: A teen's account of a war criminal trial, Second Story Press, Toronto, 2017, softcover, ISBN 978-1-77260-040-7, 256 pages, $13.95, distributed by University of Toronto Press, utpress.utoronto.ca On the Spectrum BY JENNIFER GOLD Sixteen-year-old Clara has been raised in New York City by her famous ballerina mother. Her father now lives in Paris with his new wife and Clara's half-brother, six-year-old Alastair. Clara rarely visits her father but when the school's guid- ance counsellor calls in a social worker to talk to Clara about her orthorexia (an eating disorder, nurtured by her anorexic mother, that manifests as an unhealthy obsession with compulsively healthy eating and intense exer- cise), it was decided that Clara should spend the summer with her father and stepmother in Paris. Her job will be to help out with Alastair who is on the autism spectrum. Michel, Alastair's 20-year-old friend, works for his Ethiopian-born father in the family bakery. Through him, readers learn about Alastair's remarkable accomplishments and insights. For example, Alastair sees a parallel with himself and his half-sister. He points out that, like him, Clara is on the eating disorders spectrum. Meanwhile, Michel has his own challenges. He is torn between the cultures of his black, Muslim father and his white, French Catholic mother. Michel, neither black nor white, is not accepted by either race. Like Alastair, who is teased by his classmates for his intellectual differences, Michel was also taunted in school. During that summer, the three of them teach one another: through Michel, Clara begins to appreciate, rather than fear, food; through Alastair, she learns about patience, trust and a kind of love that features understanding and wisdom. Gold has captured the essence of what it means to be diagnosed with autism and what it means to live with someone who is. She also takes on the issues of eating disorders and body image. Her words about the cruelty of children toward anyone who is different in race, colour, appearance or behaviour should provoke read- ers to think about the impact their words and actions have on others. For students in Grades 7 to 12. Gail Lennon is a writer and reviewer with more than 35 years of teaching experience at all levels. To Look a Nazi in the Eye BY KATHY KACER WITH JORDANA LEBOWITZ Jordana Lebowitz had grown up hearing the stories her grandmother had told of surviving the Holocaust during the Second World War. Consequently, the 19-year-old felt compelled to bear witness to the trial of Oskar Groening, the so-called "Bookkeeper of Auschwitz," in 2015. At the age of 94, Groening was perhaps the last of the Nazi perpetrators to be tried in Germany. To Look a Nazi in the Eye is the story of her experience. It was on a trip to Poland to participate in the International March of the Living (a three-kilometre si- lent march from Auschwitz to Birkenau to honour the vic- tims of the Holocaust) that Jordana learned of Groening's trial for aiding and abetting in the murder of over 300,000 Jews. Groening, a low-level officer, had been stationed at Auschwitz shortly after joining the SS. His job there was to collect money and valuables brought to the camp by the Jews who were about to be murdered. The valuables were then sent to Berlin to help fund the war effort. Groening was found guilty of murder, despite his repudiation of his past and his efforts to denounce Holocaust deniers. The story is primarily Jordana's, interspersed with snip- pets of her blogs and Groening's testimony. It chronicles her emotional journey — from hearing Groening's and survivor testimony first-hand to the realization that life is not black and white but, rather, many shades of grey. To Look a Nazi in the Eye addresses topics such as prejudice, tolerance, the Holocaust, social justice, citizenship, as well demonstrating that young people can and do have a voice. It is appropriate for Grades 9 to 12. Terri Lawrence-Tayler, OCT, is an anatomy and physiology instructor with the nursing program at St. Clair College in Windsor.

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