The Night Crossing, by Karen Akerman, is a tender story about a brave Austrian Jewish family, and their challenging long journey to freedom during the start of the Second World War. As the family desperately makes their way towards a safer place, they can only take with them what they can carry in their pockets. The children in the story bring along their two favorite dolls. Inside the dolls are hidden their family’s most precious possessions - their Sabbath candle sticks.
The children in Mrs. Zaret's class were very moved by this beautiful story. The book fostered a great deal of discussion about kindness, peace, discrimination, empathy, and love.
As a highlight to their follow-up activities, the students were inspired to make dolls of their own. Inside the dolls, the children hid trinkets that they had made, along with notes they had written of peace and good-will. Mrs. Zaret brought her sewing machine into the classroom, and each child had the opportunity to create a doll that they could keep forever. The dolls serve as a reminder that we must all treat each other with respect and kindness, and must all work towards making our world a more peaceful and loving place to live.
What a wonderful, special way to celebrate a story that touched all the students.