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6th Grade Library: Oskar and the Eight Blessings

Historical Fiction


Characteristics of historical fiction:

  • takes place in a definite period and specific real place in history
  • some characters may be real or fake, but all behave in a realistic way
  • the plot is a combination of real and made up events


Night of Broken Glass

The Night of Broken Glass, in German, Kristallnacht, was November 9, 1938. Violence against Jews by Nazis escalated and Jewish businesses and homes were trashed and looted. Many synagogues were burned and sacred scrolls were destroyed. The streets were lined with glass from the store windows that were smashed, which is why it is known as the Night of Broken Glass.

More information from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/the-night-of-broken-glass



The comic Oskar receives is Superman. 1938 is the year Superman first debuted. The first copy of Superman was sold for 10 cents in 1938 and in 2014 was sold for $3.2 million! More info here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_Comics_1​

Count Basie and Carnegie Hall

Oskar whistles a conversation with Count Basie outside of Carnegie Hall. One of the most famous jazz recordings of all time was done at Carnegie Hall in 1938. Benny Goodman, jazz clarinetist, performed with his band, many special guests, including Count Basie on piano, and a recording was made. Click the links below to learn more!

1938: Jazz at Carnegie Hall 


The famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert


Listen to the Count Basie concert from December 23, 1938, From Spirituals to Swing

Eleanor Roosevelt

Does this picture look similar to the one in the book? Maybe the illustrator used this as a reference. 

Here is a link to Eleanor Roosevelt's journal entry from December 23, 1938. Her journals have been transcribed, typed up, so they are easier to read and find when searching keywords. She WAS in New York City on the day Oskar was there. On Christmas Eve, she took the midnight train back to Washington, DC, and her home, The White House.