Feb 24, 2017 5:02 PM
NH grandfather appalled by book cover with bombs forming swastika shown in school flier
A book cover in a flier distributed at a Manchester Catholic school upset the grandfather of a pre-kindergarten student.
Jim Traverse, of Manchester, told NH1 News he feels the cover, which features a swastika made out of bombs, is inappropriate for someone his granddaughter's age and that the school and the company who distributes the fliers should have a better vetting process.
“I guess I have a problem with two entities," Traverse said. "The publisher for putting a swastika and bombs on a cover like that and maybe the school for giving this to little kids.”
The book "Making Bombs for Hitler," is listed in the Middle Grade Fiction section of a Scholastic Reading Club flier sent home with students in all grades at St. Catherine of Siena School.
The story, written by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch in 2012, is of a young girl forced to build bombs for the Germans during World War II.
The book is a companion to another title by the same author "Stolen Child," which introduced a girl named Nadia.
A post on Goodreads, a book website, describes the book as the "story of a Lebensborn girl — a child kidnapped for her 'Aryan looks' by the Nazis in their frenzy to build a master race — reveals one child's fierce determination to uncover her past against incredible odds."
Lida, the girl in "Building Bombs for Hitler," is Nadia's sister.
A Goodreads synopsis of that book says, "readers will learn the fate of Lida, her sister, who was also kidnapped by the Germans and forced into slave labour — an Osterbeiter."
The Scholastic Reading Club website designates the book for grades 3-8.
Travers said he first became aware of the book when his granddaughter's uncle showed the book sale flier to him.
"What the heck is this," Travers recalls saying. "I look at the title, at this book, 'Making Bombs for Hitler,' and it just struck me. I have not read the book. I don't know what it's about. In today's day in age, we see a swastika and you get a little antsy."
The book appears to have two cover versions. One with the swastika pattern made out of bombs and a second one with a child's face. However, using a Google search, it appears as though the cover was updated in 2017 and only the swastika version is available for new purchases.
Scholastic did not return a message left on Thursday. A woman who answered the phone at St. Catherine Siena on Friday noted that the book cover appeared in the Middle Grade Fiction section and referred all calls to the principal. Messages left for the principal on Thursday and Friday have not been returned.
Travers said he plans to reach out to the school officials to start a conversation.
"I'm going to go to the office and say, 'Hey gang, should we be a little more careful about what we distribute.'"