YAL - Young Adult Literature Presenter Unit 2012/2013




Highlighted Strategy

Inquiry Station
One of the strategies highlighted in this YAL Conference workshop is Inquiry Station, which consists of places/spaces, virtual or real, intentionally created for students to work collaboratively, practice inquiry, grapple with complex ideas, and provide support for students to make their knowledge visible and go public. Each station is created or developed by the teacher.

Go to this strategy.

Learn more about these and other strategies that align with the Common Core Standards that were demonstrated in YAL Conference units.

YAL Home Page

YAL Conference Books

YAL Strategies

UfB - Units for Books - Info

UfB - Units for Books - Units



The Boy Who Dared
by Susan Campbell Bartoletti


In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer
by Irene Opdyke and Jennifer Armstrong


YAL Presenter Unit 2012/2013

Subjects: English
Grade Level: 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Posted: 2012
Unit Created by: Christine Johnson and Susan Garr

What makes this a good YAL choice...

The Boy Who Dared is a historical fiction text that tells the story of 17-year-old Helmut Huebner, who has been charged with treason and faces execution by the Nazi Party. The story jumps from the present to the past as Helmut relives his journey to becoming a traitor. A young person, growing up in Munich during Hitler’s rise to power, Helmut seemed to be the only one questioning Hitler’s governance. The Boy Who Dared shares Helmut’s intelligence and insight, courage and compassion. Reading this book makes us wonder: How did citizens of Germany respond to Hitler’s rise to power? Did all Germans think the same? What happened in Germany if you did not agree with Hitler’s politics? What role did the media play? Did anyone have the courage to stand up against him? What other resistance movements were going on at the time?


Irene’s voice rings out strong in her memoir In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Survivor. Her way of life destroyed by Hitler’s invasion of Poland, Irene suffers terribly at the hands of both German and Russian soldiers, but despite the odds, she survives and then shows immense courage as she finds daring ways to safeguard Jews threatened by the Nazis. Reading her memoir leaves us gasping anew at the cruelty of war and asking: Where did she find her strength and courage? What stands did others take? What makes someone an upstander or a bystander? What would I myself do in her situation?


These two books read together offer readers the chance to grapple with the complexities of WWII. Supplementing a unit of study on WWII and the Holocaust with personal accounts offers multiple perspectives about the realities of war and dictatorship. We all know that one unit of study cannot provide students with a complete understanding, but YAL historical fiction and non-fiction can help broaden their thinking and begin to fill the gaps in ways textbook-only learning can’t.

The Boy Who Dared and In My Hands invite students to get curious about real people who were impacted by Hitler’s rise to power. Helmut and Irene grew up in different countries and different life situations but both offer us insight into what it would have been like to watch your beloved country get taken over by a madman. And both young people challenge us to take a stand against hate and oppression wherever we see them. — Christine Johnson and Susan Garr

YAL Conference Workshop Description & Documents
Heroes of the Holocaust: Approaching History through Memoir (In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer) and Historical Fiction (The Boy Who Dared)
Christine Johnson and Susan Garr, Presenters

The Boy Who Dared is a fictionalized account of a heroic German schoolboy, Helmuth Hubener, who found ways to spread the truth about Nazi propaganda and was eventually arrested for his actions. In her memoir, In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer, Irene Gutowna tells her amazing story as a young Polish nursing student captured by the Germans and forced to work in a hotel serving German army officers. Horrified by the cruel treatment of the Jews, she is soon aiding, hiding, and even smuggling Jews to safety at terrible risk to herself. These compelling books raise questions for young people and for all of us: What gives a person courage to risk everything to do what he or she knows is right? Can the actions of one individual make a difference when the world around has gone mad? Our workshop will explore media literacy and ways to approach history through memoir and historical fiction as well as questions of moral courage in our world today. — Workshop Description for YAL 2012


Essential Questions - Power Point


Why We Teach Heroes of the Holocaust - Power Point


Timeline - Power Point


Timeline - PDF (print version)


Unit Template Form