Magical transports and transformations: The lessons of children’s holocaust fiction

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2 Scopus citations


Holocaust fiction and film for young audiences constitute a representational and pedagogical dilemma. Such narrative conventions as fantasy and fairy tale elements offer accessibility for young audiences to learn about the brutal and incomprehensible extremes of the Holocaust. However, they may also undermine the catastrophe’s grim historicity. Examining Jane Yolen’s Holocaust novel The Devil’s Arithmetic and its film adaptation alongside her novel Briar Rose, we address the following question: do uses of fantasy techniques such as magical transports and transformations soften, sanitize, and inevitably sentimentalize Holocaust history, or do those techniques express important historical knowledge?

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-185
Number of pages19
JournalStudies in American Jewish Literature
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 6 2014


  • Fantasy and fairy tales
  • Holocaust children’s literature
  • Holocaust education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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