This study guide if for the book "When the Soldiers Were Gone" by Vera Propp. It tells the story of a Jewish boy who was hidden from the German soldiers by a family in the Netherlands during WWII. When the book begins, the boy's parents are coming to pick him up after the war. The book is a story of the young boy's adjustment to life after the war and also deals with his memories before and during the war on the Dutch farm.
This book is rated at a 3.5 reading level and it does have an Accelerated Reader quiz to go along with the book. The study guide hasa variety of levels of questions, from simple knowledge questions to questions that ask students to state an opinion and back the opinion with facts from the book. There is also a reader's theater that was written from one section of the book that students can perform.
My students truly enjoyed this story and gained a good understanding of the plight of the Jewish families as well as the danger of helping these families. It is a simple story that conveys the issues of this time in history without using violent scenes.
I use a number of books during my historical fiction unit from the same time period as lit. circle books. I can use a variety of reading levels as well as different views of a time period in history. Students present their book in a creative way (reader's theater, poster, book sandwich, power point, etc). With this unit, student tell what life was like in different countries throughout Europe during WWII. I generally use "When the Soldiers were Gone" "Twenty and Ten," "A Boy at War," "For Freedom," and "Devil's Arithmetic." I also read "Number the Stars" as a read aloud at the same time, walking students through the historical aspects of the time period to give them background knowledge.
Dr. Linda Miedema, Ed.D.