My feet have still not quite hit the ground since my Pilgrimage to Manzanar trip and my bike ‘n barge trip across Holland with Hannie Voyles. But already I know that two of my summer projects will be to create multimedia teacher guides for two books I know middle – high school language arts/English/history teachers will want to add to their teaching toolkits:
Kiyo’s Story – One of my favorite take-aways from the Manzanar trip was an autographed copy of Kiyo Sato’s memoir of growing up in California – before, during, and after WWII.
“It is a magnificent memoir, fully worthy of being compared to Farewell to Manzanar. I cannot praise its pointillist realism, its Zen-like austerity, highly enough. Exquisite.”—Kevin Starr, author of California: A History
I have to take issue with Kevin Starr’s review. Kiyo’s Story provides something missing from Farewell to Manzanar: a window into the Issei (first generation of Japanese immigrants) experience in California and also makes visible the power of one’s culture to help overcome extreme challenges and attacks on human dignity. Kiyo also includes samples of upstanders (people who choose to take positive action in the face of injustice in society or in situations where individuals need assistance), such as Edward Kelly Elementary School teacher Miss Cox.
I had the good fortune to interview Kiyo five years ago as part of my Time of Remembrance Oral Histories Project. Kiyo’s interview will make a wonderful accompanying piece to her book – and upcoming multimedia teachers guide. Since the release of Kiyo’s Story, there are also a number of online inteviews with her, such as the 2009 radio interview with KQED’s Dave Iverson and News & Review piece by Becky Grunewald, that I will be weaving into the multimedia teachers guide.
Storming the Tulips – I first met Hannie two years ago, when my friend Pam Bodnar, a middle school counselor in Chico, shared with me a remarkable presentation Hannie did with Pam’s 8th grade students on how she survived the Nazi occupation of Holland. Hannie was a schoolmate of Anne Frank’s, a few years younger than Anne but also a student for a while at the same Montessori School. Whereas Anne’s story is one of hiding in the Annex, Hannie’s is from a street view. Hannie and her sister were the eyes and ears for their Jewish mother, who, like Anne, had to remain hidden in their apartment, which was opposite Nazi headquarters.
Hannie’s compelling story is one of 20 first-hand accounts of survival and resilience included in Storming the Tulips:
Storming the Tulips is an intimate encounter with history, as told by twenty former students of the 1st Montessori School in Amsterdam. They were children-contemporaries of Anne Frank -and this book is a companion to The Diary of Anne Frank. While Anne’s story describes her sequestered life in the Annex, Storming the Tulips reveals what children on the outside endured-in the streets, in hiding, and in the concentration camps. Their friends disappeared. Their parents sent them away. They were herded on trains and sent to death camps. They joined the Nazi youth. They hid Jews. They lost their families. They picked the pockets of the dead. They escaped. They dodged bullets. They lived in terror. They starved. They froze. They ate tulip bulbs. They witnessed a massacre. They collected shrapnel. And finally, they welcomed the Liberation. Some lost their families, most lost their homes, but they all lost their innocence as they fought to survive in a world gone mad-the only world that they knew.”
Last month I traveled to Chico, along with Doug Niva, the very talented videographer who has played such a key role in the Time of Remembrance project, to do an interview with Hannie. We will soon have clips from the interview online, both as stand-alone questions in 11th grade US History teacher Erin Goldman’s Beyond Anne Frank lesson, and as part of the soon-to-be-developed multimedia literature guide for Storming the Tulips.
So it may be a while yet before my feet finally touch the ground.