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Yellow Star play teaches kids about Holocaust

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Kanawha County Public Library is bringing a national anti-bullying production to the area, which aims to tap into history to help children understand today's issues and to advocate for tolerance.

Bright Star Touring Theatre Company will perform "I Wore A Yellow Star" at several of the Kanawha County Public Library branches next week.

The 45-minute production portrays the Holocaust, and key historic figures involved, with a focus on Yellow Stars -- the cloth patch Jewish citizens were ordered to sew onto their clothes to identify themselves in public.

The Yellow Stars, which first appeared in 1939, were mandatory in certain countries during World War II as a way to persecute Jewish people.

Bright Star Touring Theatre claims to have a national reputation for "it's ability to tackle serious and dark chapters in our nation's history in such a way that young audiences can begin to understand these very serious chapters in the human experience.

"We believe that while learning about history can be difficult, it's so important that we do learn about it so that we may never risk repeating ourselves," Bright Star said in a press release.

The play spans several key events, starting in 1930 when the Nazis became the second-largest political party in Germany, and ending the show in 1945 when Germany surrendered.

Anne Frank and Oskar Schindler are among the real-life characters portrayed in the play.

Libraries will provide accompanying reading materials on the Holocaust, and will also reach out to teachers with Holocaust study guides provided by Bright Star, according to Terry Wooten, marketing and development manager for the Kanawha County Public Library.

While this is the first time the library has welcomed the Yellow Star production, Bright Star Touring has performed other plays at Kanawha's libraries before, she said.

"Our children's department really focuses on programs that are educational and fun, but this is a more serious subject than usual," Wooten said. "We offer over 3,000 programs to the community for all ages and we try to cover a wide variety of subjects. Some of them deal with history or current events or health [or] even just something fun like gardening."

Yellow Star is best suited for children in the third grade and older.

The show will be at the main library on Wednesday at 6 p.m., the Cross Lanes branch Tuesday at 1:30 p.m., the Elk Valley branch Tuesday at 6 p.m. and the Riverside Public Library Wednesday at 10 a.m. Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.mays@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.


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