*And yet another shameless plug for a book I read in YA class*
GUYS. YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK. BECAUSE NOT ONLY IS IT BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN, BUT IT’S ACTUALLY SUPER EDUCATIONAL.
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys takes place during the Lithuanian genocide, WHICH I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW WAS A THING UNTIL I READ THIS BOOK. Maybe your high school was better than mine (and it probably was), but we never learned about this.
So in the 1950s, when the Soviets were beginning to take over, they went into the Baltic countries to arrest and deport people to Siberia who were considered “threats” to the Soviet Union. My YA professor arranged for us to Skype one of his friends who lives in Lithuania so she could teach us more, and she said people were deported for a variety of reasons, but it was usually because they had land or other valuable property that the Soviets wanted or because they were educated and could potentially make trouble for the Soviets. And so they were rounded up like animals and shipped to the coldest, most desolate regions of Russia where a lot of them died. AND I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS THE FIRST I AM HEARING ABOUT THIS.
Actually the scary part is that a lot of things that are happening in this novel I see developing in America today. One major parallel is that the educated are seen as threats and aren’t being listened to. The difference is, they haven’t tried to do away with us– yet. If you pick up this book, you will probably see some parallels too.
So yeah, you should definitely check this out because I bet a there are a lot of people who didn’t know about the Lithuanian genocide. It’s definitely important to be knowledgeable about this stuff so we don’t repeat the same mistakes. The book actually has its own website, which you can check out here.