Kimmel’s Categories

Award-winning children’s book author Eric Kimmel has been credited since January 1977 with categories of juvenile Holocaust fiction noted in his Horn Book article, “Confronting the Ovens: The Holocaust and Juvenile Fiction” (Kimmel, 84-91). These categories, described as concentric circles, are:

  • Resistance
  • Refugee
  • Occupation
  • Jewish resistance
  • Camps

In preparing my 2016 Children’s Literature Association talk, “Recovering Marginalized Voices of the Holocaust in Children’s Picture Books and Graphic Novels,” I reached out to Eric and he updated his categories:

whispering-town
Resistance – 2014
  • Resistance—young people taking an active role in underground movements of their homelands
  • Flight—refugee narratives written primarily by Jewish authors

    Occupation/flight, 2014
    Occupation/flight, 2014
  • Occupation—set in countries under Nazi control
  • Jewish resistance—narratives in which Jews stand together to fight back
  • Concentration camps
  • Rescue—saved from certain death in the camps or ghettos (defined by Kimmel through personal correspondence in November 2016)
  • Return—coming back after the war is over (defined by Kimmel through personal correspondence in November 2016)

These categories may have been intended as mutually exclusive, but they are not. A narrative published today may cover occupation, resistance, flight, and death camps all within one volume.

Recovery - 2013
Recovery – 2013

The Holocaust Kidlit database assumes Kimmel’s taxonomy but will also test its validity against the inventory of titles published since 2002. If analysis concludes these categories are not sufficient, the database will be modified. For example, Recovery may be a new category and may justify construction of a new classification model.