Reflections: Beyond and Beneath the Book

by Holly Mandelkern

A Portrait in Poetry

"A Portrait in Poetry: Writing From the Testimony of Roman Kent" in Yeshiva University’s Prism: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Holocaust Educators, Spring 2016. (pp.74-79)


Workshop (April 2018) :
“The Kinship of Poetry and History: Using Beneath White Stars to Teach the Holocaust.” Sponsored by the Florida Task Force on Holocaust Education. A workshop for secondary language arts and social studies teachers to help students read and write poetry based on Holly’s book to increase sensitivity to individual stories from the Holocaust.

Keynote Address, Brevard County:  Beneath White Stars in the Secondary Language Arts Classroom (Feb. 2018)


Featured in the libraries of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC and Yad Vashem in Jerusalem


Recommended resource for the South Carolina Council on the Holocaust’s supplement (available Spring 2019): “Holocaust Remembered”


" 'History and poetry … lean on each other.' This book is a powerful example of two genres, history and poetry, in conversation. As a mentor text, this book will inspire students to explore the process of 'writing around' history. These poems make the history of the Holocaust accessible, edifying, and deeply human for students. I can’t wait to see how educators, from middle school to college, utilize this hybrid text in the classroom to give students the courage and confidence to explore the Holocaust more extensively." — Jeff Byrd, Editorial Director at Heinemann, a division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

"Beneath White Stars is more than just eloquent poetry. It’s historic facts, gripping survivor witnesses, maps, event timelines, delicate illustrations, and personal reflections, which all serve to bring Holocaust education to light in a way as never before. The emotional, humanistic, and sometimes almost spiritual poems, most based on true lives and events of the Holocaust, touch the reader in a unique and powerful way. Read as an academic tool or for personal experience, this book is a treasure for everyone." — Nancy-Lee Thompson, educator

"Thank you for putting this astonishing work together. The words you have recovered and presented here are incredibly valuable, and the beauty and power of this volume is impossible to overstate. One of many remarkable things about the book is that, I think, it can provide a good point of entry for young people into learning about the Holocaust- a very challenging thing. Yet it is no less compelling to adult readers like myself." — Dr. Richards Plavnieks, Adjunct Professor of History, University of Central Florida

"The imagery and word pictures of the poems in Beneath White Stars soar up to the realm of the imagination, while the “Lost and Found”  history sections ground the reader in the history of this tragic period. The profound text, coupled with evocative illustrations, makes this book accessible to young readers as well as a general or scholarly audience. Highly recommended." — Daniel A. Reich, Curator & Director of Education, Holocaust Museum and Learning Center, St. Louis

“The poems bring to life a chorus of varied voices portraying in fine, poetic fashion life’s lessons in survival, recovery, and redemption. Through captivating illustrations and in the minds and hearts of the reader, these powerfully spiritual voices come to life, remain memorable.”— Stephen Caldwell Wright, PhD, poet and educator, President and Founder of the Gwendolyn Brooks Writers Association of Florida

“This remembrance of Holocaust victims and survivors is a stirring and emotional work. The poems inspire deep feeling in the reader, and they are matched by illustrations that give life and nuance to the stories they accompany. Overall, a profoundly moving and thought-provoking work.” — Margaret Vickers, language arts educator, Winter Park, FL

“Holly Mandelkern’s poems and historical backgrounds powerfully reflect upon accounts of tragedy and triumph and impart the incredible power of an individual’s actions in the face of terror. After sharing her poems with students in my ‘Holocaust in Literature and Film’ course at Tulane University, I highly recommend her collection to educators and students at the secondary and university levels.” — Marty M. Mullins, PhD, Research Associate, John Jay Institute, Philadelphia 

“Holly Mandelkern’s poetry goes to the heart of the Holocaust. Historical context and original illustrations accompanying her poems provide a unique and valuable resource for Holocaust students of all ages.” — Harriet Sepinwall,EdD, Professor Emerita, College of Saint Elizabeth Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education, Morristown, NJ

“Lakeview High School Library has been pleased to add Beneath White Stars: Holocaust Profiles in Poetry to its collection and highly recommends this book for the classroom. Holly Mandelkern's work is beautifully written and illustrated. This is an outstanding addition to Holocaust literature and a valuable teaching resource to which students will readily relate!” — Margaret Lincoln, Ph.D., Lakeview Schools District Librarian, Battle Creek, Michigan

Interested in ordering Beneath White Stars: Holocaust Profiles In Poetry in larger quantities for classrooms or an organization? Click here.