A Quick Take on Heavy-Heartedness

I asked a group of my 8th graders last week if they think that The Book Thief by Markus Zusak should become a regular feature of 8th grade reading at our school.  They resoundingly agreed that it should, because it was such a great book and so well-written.  I agree with them, wholeheartedly.  But also heavy-heartedly, because I don't know if I can have my guts wrung out every year by this book. The Holocaust is just not a happy subject, and while I do believe that 8th graders are, by and large, ready to come to terms with it (at least some of it), I feel like it's an agonizing sort of thing for a teacher to read year in and year out.  It's just so unflinching in its look at the ugliness of malice, suffering, and war; again, something that most 8th graders ought to think about and consider. Will I have the fortitude to go another round with the sorrows that this book contains?


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