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Hannie Voyles Gives Voice to Amsterdam’s Holocaust Survivors

September 19, 2011

This week, School Library Journal gave yet another endorsement to Storming the Tulipsby publishing an interview with author Hannie J. Voyles, just a few weeks after they gave her book a raving review. In writing and translating the book, Voyles was not only motivated to share her childhood history of living under the Nazi occupation in Amsterdam, but she also wanted reach out to today’s generation of students who are often confronted with modern biases that can separate them from the others, and even lead to bullying. She hopes that this text will be used as a springboard for classroom discussion, to address current school situations. Using this text, students will recognize the prejudices that led to the widespread horrors of this war, and be able draw parallels to what they observe, or could even be engaged in, today.

School Library Journal:
How do you imagine students will react to these stories (of the children in Storming the Tulips)?

Hannie J. Voyles:
I think this book is a more personal, and thereby, a more immediate take on history because these are ordinary children who bring, as all children do, their own family’s attitudes, preconceptions, religions, prejudices, difficulties to school with them. And I think that there’s an identification with some of these children. Take any of them: the son or daughter of a Nazi sympathizer—in school, they are reacted to. You have a religion that’s not being approved of. You’re a Muslim in today’s society and in school with children who are different.That reality today is not very different than the diversity that existed back then.

Storming the TulipsWe are looking at a way to cut through some of these barriers that are inevitably carried by students when they come to school. It’s a way to ameliorate these things. It’s a way for teachers to engage in some discussion that might enable to identify perhaps some of today’s difficulties in school, which students don’t talk about until a social situation is created.

Storming the Tulips is available from: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Follett Library Resources, Book Wholesalers, Inc., Ingram , and Independent Bookstores .

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