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Ages: 12+

Reading Levels

Grade: 8+

Guided Reading Level: Z+

Branded by the Pink Triangle

by: Ken Setterington

A time when your sexuality could be your death sentence

Before the rise of the Nazi party, Germany, especially Berlin, was one of the most tolerant places for homosexuals in the world. Activists, including Thomas Mann and Albert Einstein, campaigned openly for the rights of gay men and women, and tried to repeal the old existing law against homosexuality. But all that would change when the Nazis came to power and existence for gay people turned into one of fear. Raids, arrests, prison sentences and expulsions became the daily reality. When the concentration camps were built, homosexuals were imprisoned along with Jews and any other groups the Nazis wanted to suppress.

The pink triangle, sewn onto prison uniforms, became the symbol of the persecution of homosexuals, a persecution that would continue for many years after the war. A mix of historical research, first person accounts, and individual stories bring this time to life for readers. Stories of bravery in the face of inhuman cruelty, friendship found in the depths of despair in the camps, and the perseverance of the human spirit will both educate and inspire.

 Listen to author Ken Setterington talk about the Pink Triangle victims on Teaching Books.Net

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2014 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award - Nominee

2014 Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction - Nominee

2014 Canadian Jewish Book Award - Winner, Holocaust Literature

2014 Stonewall Book Award - Honor Book, American Library Association

Top Ten, 2014 Rainbow List, American Library Association's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) and Social Responsibilities Round Table (SSRT)

United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) Outstanding International Books 2014

Bank Street College Children's Book Committee's "Best Children's Books of the Year, 2014" for ages 14+


 “An impassioned and cogent history of the persecution of gay men during the Holocaust. ... a remarkably informative and necessary work.”Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

 "At a time when the 'It Gets Better' campaign and anti-bullying measures are helping promote the safety and acceptance of LGBT youth, it is necessary to take a sobering look back at what the book’s cover copy describes as 'a time when your sexuality could be your death sentence.' ... Offering a detailed timeline of crucial events during this period of history, and including the stories of several gay men who survived the Nazi regime, Setterington’s book is a much needed complement to existing studies of the Holocaust, and vital reading for young and adult readers alike." - Quill & Quire

"Many do not know the history of the pink triangle, but this volume not only gives a full history of an incredibly important contemporary symbol of gay culture, it also manages to successfully navigate sensitive and difficult topics with great dexterity and sensitivity. Setterington has managed to bring visibility to a much needed area of history." - Canadian Review of Materials

"Some young readers familiar with the play and movie Bent may be familiar with this aspect of the Holocaust, but most will have no idea of this form of discrimination. Young readers will now know this important piece of Holocaust history and understand the significance of the pink triangle, now the symbol of gay rights, once a mark of shame" - International Reading Association

"Setterington’s slim book, which should be in schools, synagogues and human rights museums everywhere, speaks volumes about a time that few LGBT youths today, contemplating who to take to the prom or the parade, would have knowledge about." - Judith Timson, Toronto Star

 "By weaving the individual experiences into a broader account of the treatment and persecution of homosexuals by the Nazi regime, the author provides a compelling and evocative narrative. ... Period photographs, a lengthy time line, and an extensive bibliography round out the strengths of this thoughtful, informative work." - School Library Journal

"One of the problems that gay youth face is that they do not grow up connected to history as there are no elders in their families that can tell them what it was like to be gay in days past. This well written and engaging book tells the story of an important time in LGBT history.... Branded by the Pink Triangle seamlessly blends factual history with compelling narrative to engage teen readers." - The Deakin Review of Children's Literature

"This book is highly recommended for all collections that have Holocaust materials." - Associations of Jewish Library Reviews  


Reading Levels

Grade: 8+

Guided Reading Level: Z+

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