The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane YolenThe Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen

The Devil's Arithmetic

byJane Yolen

Paperback | October 1, 1990

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"A triumphantly moving book."  —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Hannah dreads going to her family's Passover Seder—she's tired of hearing her relatives talk about the past. But when she opens the front door to symbolically welcome the prophet Elijah, she's transported to a Polish village in the year 1942. Why is she there, and who is this "Chaya" that everyone seems to think she is? Just as she begins to unravel the mystery, Nazi soldiers come to take everyone in the village away. And only Hannah knows the unspeakable horrors that await. A critically acclaimed novel from multi-award-winning author Jane Yolen. 

"[Yolen] adds much to understanding the effects of the Holocaust, which will reverberate throughout history, today and tomorrow." —SLJ, starred review

"Readers will come away with a sense of tragic history that both disturbs and compels." —Booklist

Winner of the National Jewish Book Award
An American Bookseller "Pick of the Lists"
Jane Yolen is the author of more than three hundred books, including Owl Moon, The Devil’s Arithmetic, and How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?. Her books and stories have won the Caldecott Medal, National Jewish Book Award and numerous awards and accolades. She splits her time between Massachusetts and St. Andrews, Scotland.
Title:The Devil's ArithmeticFormat:PaperbackDimensions:176 pages, 7.75 × 5.13 × 0.45 inPublished:October 1, 1990Publisher:Penguin Young Readers GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0140345353

ISBN - 13:9780140345353

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 17


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Educational and impactful One of the most haunting but eye-opening books I've read. It's events are horrifying but the way the story is told by starting in the present day and the receding into the past is interesting and insightful. I am a sucker for historical fiction and this one made me weep not only for Hannah, but for the 6 million Jews who were not able to escape the Devil's arithmetic. I definitely would recommend as a historical read and is a great educational tool for beginner YA audiences.
Date published: 2018-07-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wow Powerful book. A historical fiction based on the Holocaust. Read as an adult for a class I attended, but suitable for older children (I'd say 11 or 12 and up).
Date published: 2017-01-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read then Reread I recently reread this novel and it was as impactful the second time as it was the first. Written for any audience (young or old) this look from a young adults perspective further intensifies and incredible loss of the holocaust.
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing ! I read this book a while ago and it will stick with me forever. amazing story!
Date published: 2015-06-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Total Heart Breaker This Novel is incredible, makes the events of the holocaust a lot more realistic for someone in this modern era, This book properly helps the reader connect to the events that are occuring and also there is an emotional connection that gets developed which encourages the reader to continue reading, which doesn't let you put it down! P.S: This will definitely break your heart at times, make you cry and swallow hard which is why I called it a total heart breaker!
Date published: 2011-03-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Devil's Arithmetic: A Holocaust Story I hadn't heard anything about this novel before I read it. The Devil's Arithmetic, by Jane Yolen is the winner of "The National Jewish Book Award." This novel is about the unfortunate true events of 1942. It is about a young girl trying to get through all the struggles of her heritage and the Nazi concentration camps. It focuses on a young Jewish girl named Hannah who hates her family's Seder meal. She is twelve and it is her turn to open the door to the prophet Elijah. When she goes to open the door for the prophet Elijah, she gets transported back in time to the year of World War II. Hannah is confused as they call her Chaya and two people believe themselves as her Aunt Gitl and Uncle Shmuel. They talk about her parents' deaths, and that she had nearly died, being sick for weeks. At Shmuel's wedding, the Germans come and take them away to concentration camps where they are starved, humilated and sometimes killed. Chaya (Hannah) meet a young girl named Rivka who teaches her how to fight the process of the camp and how to hold onto her identity. Is Hannah in a dream? Will she return back to her normal family? The author gives you the knowledge and facts about the concentration camps. She tells about the different labor and horrible conditions of the camps. The author tries to combine the past and the present together which made me make personal connections. She made me think how could have this happened. The ending of this book is amazing and it makes you appreciate what you have. It was entertaining and informative. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historic stories with a surprising ending.
Date published: 2009-06-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfect. Hannah hates hearing the stories about the Holocaust each Seder, because she doesn't fully appreciate what her family and people went through. When she opens the door for the Prophet Elijah to enter on Passover, she is transported to a Polish village during the Second World War where she learns the significance of remembering. I HIGHLY recommend this book to any mature young adult. It has mystery, history, the horrors of the Holocaust, and a moving tale that makes anyone appreciate family and life..
Date published: 2006-07-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful I recommand this book to anyone who wants the taste and feeling of what it was like in the Jewish Camps in Poland. The Devil's Arithmetic open'd my eyes and I felt like I had a better understanding of the Jewish Camps. This book will make you think and challenge you in many ways as it draws you in through the eyes of a child.
Date published: 2003-12-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from wow!!! This book really hits close to home. It really tells about the struggle and agony suffered by the people in the hollocaust. this book is an excellent selection and should be picked up by all people who would like to know more about the history of the jewish people. once again wow!!!
Date published: 2003-02-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from amazing!!! This book was the first book on the holocaust I've ever read. I used to think the holocaust was just a little thing that was boring, but this book totally changed my mind! I've tried to find other WWII books like it, but this is my favorite! I recommend it for ages 12up.
Date published: 2002-07-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from amazing!!! This book was the first book on the holocaust I've ever read. I used to think the holocaust was just a little thing that was boring, but this book totally changed my mind! I've tried to find other WWII books like it, but this is my favorite! I recommend it for ages 12up.
Date published: 2002-07-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent This book was great. What makes this book different from other holocaust books (I've read tons ) is that this is a girl who goes back in time during Passover, and knows all about the Holocaust, knows what they did to people. A very well-written book with a great ending (I cried), I recommend it to ages 12- 15.
Date published: 2001-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from nothing much I found this book really interesting. You got to see the holocaust through the eyes of a child. A child who knew nothing about what was happening. You actually knew what was happening to her.Just like the other survivors books, you know what was happening, but this was different. I recommend it to young teens.
Date published: 2000-12-08

From Our Editors

As Passover approaches, Hannah thinks about her family’s Seder and feels dread. The last thing she wants to hear is her relatives telling the same old stories about people long dead and events that are long finished. She’s thinking about all of these things when she opens the door to symbolically greet the prophet Elijah and suddenly goes back in time to early 1940s Poland. In The Devil’s Arithmetic, Jane Yolen brings to life the tragedy so many children have heard about but don’t understand.