What I Saw (From T4, Page 8)
Ann Clare LeZotte’s debut novel, T4, uses free verse to provide a powerful look into the impact of the Nazi regime on German nationals, particularly those deemed unfit to live. T4 (Tiergartenstrasse 4) or Action T4 was a Nazi euthanasia program between 1939 and 1941 to “eliminate” the disabled or mentally ill.
“I couldn’t communicate./I was trapped in my silence,/As if under a veil.//This made me feel upset/And angry sometimes./I put my face in my pillow/And sobbed and sighed.//” (I didn’t learn to speak, Page 7)
Paula Becker is a young girl living in Germany while the Nazi party is at war with the world and persecuting its own people. But she is not just a young German girl, she’s also a deaf girl. T4 is a free verse novel that utilizes simple language and images to accurately portray the young narrator’s voice. Paula is forced to leave her home and grow up on the run as the Nazi regime seeks out disabled and mentally ill patients for the T4 program. Only one or two poems in the novel seem out of order, but this coincides with the flitting mind of a young girl who is struggling to understand her world and find her place in it.
LeZotte’s narrative poems create a cohesive novel for young readers interested in learning more about WWII and the Holocaust. Readers will enjoy the simple imagery and easy-to-read poems, which allow Paula’s confusion, curiosity, and evolution to shine through. Some of the most poignant prose poems in this novel are “Poor Kurt,” “I Put on Stephanie’s Lipstick,” “But the Killings Didn’t Stop,” and “Postscript.” T4 is a novel for young readers and adults, which will easily generate discussion and pique children’s interest in learning more about WWII and the Holocaust.
Also Reviewed By:
Diary of an Eccentric