On Tuesday February 13th Gr. 8 received a very interesting visit from Ms. Masal Paz Bagdadi, a writer and child psychologist, who wrote (amongst others) the book 'A Piedi Scalzi nel Kibbutz' (Barefoot in the Kibbutz). This book tells of her turbulent childhood when, as a Syrian Jew living in the ghetto of Damascus just before the Second World War, she was forced to leave her mother at the age of 5 and flee to Israel with her older sister. The book tells of her anguish at being separated from her mother and how she then had to settle in a kibbutz, learning a new language and living with people who were not her own family. She later came to Italy with her Italian husband and became a child psychologist as she wanted to help other children who had difficulties.
In Grade 8 English we had just finished reading 'The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas' and the students had subsequently done some research into the Holocaust and persecution of the Jews in general, so when one of the students asked if we could invite Ms Bagdadi (a family friend) in to school, we thought it would be interesting for the students to hear her story. Our student's mother donated 20 copies of the book to the school and some of the Grade 8 students had the opportunity to read it before Ms. Bagdadi's visit in order to prepare some questions for her.
The visit was a great success, both because of Ms. Bagdadi's fascinating story and great ability to speak to the students but also because of the interest and attention shown by the Grade 8 students themselves. Many of them asked extremely mature and thoughtful questions and Ms. Bagdadi was very impressed with the general level and preparation they demonstrated. After the talk she signed their copies of her book.