Institute of Holocaust and Genocide Studies to Host Online Summer Book Series


Institute of Holocaust and Genocide Studies to Host Online Summer Book Series

Wednesday, May 3, 2023
photo of cara wilson-granat wearing coat

The Raritan Valley Community College Institute of Holocaust and Genocide Studies will present a virtual Summer Book Series beginning June 12 with author Cara Wilson-Granat. Held via Zoom webinars, the programs are free of charge and open to the public.

The series, which features discussions of extraordinary novels that explore the past, will focus on the following books:

•    June 12, 10-11 a.m., Tree of Hope: Anne Frank's Father Shares His Wisdom With An American Teen and the World, by Cara Wilson-Granat.

In honor of what would have been Anne Frank's 94th birthday, Cara Wilson-Granat, the author of Tree of Hope, will discuss her book, which chronicles Wilson-Granat’s extraordinary 20-year friendship with Otto Frank, father of Anne Frank. As a young girl growing up in the 1960s and ’70s, Wilson-Granat began conversations with Otto Frank through letters reflecting her chaotic teenage years and the turbulent times in America during that time. He validated her need to be heard and respected; he became her mentor, her wise “grandfather,” as he was for many others worldwide. Her correspondence with Otto Frank culminated in a memorable meeting shortly before his death, the impact of which continues to influence her life today. To register for the June 12 book discussion, visit

•    July 14, 10-11 a.m., Independence, by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.

Set during the partition of British India in 1947, a time when neighbor was pitted against neighbor and families were torn apart, award-winning author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's novel brings to life the sweeping story of three sisters caught up in events beyond their control. The book chronicles their unbreakable bond and their incredible struggle against powerful odds. To participate in the book discussion, email

•    August 11, 10-11 a.m., Peach Blossom Spring, by Melissa Fu.

It’s China, 1938. Meilin and her four-year-old son, Renshu, flee their burning city as Japanese forces advance. On the perilous journey that follows, across a China transformed by war, they find comfort and wisdom in their most treasured possession: a beautifully illustrated hand scroll filled with ancient fables. Years later, Renshu has settled in America as Henry Dao. Though his daughter, Lily, is desperate to understand her heritage, he refuses to talk about his childhood in China. How can he tell his story when he's left so much behind? Spanning continents and generations, Peach Blossom Spring is a bold and moving story about the haunting power of our past, the sacrifices we make to protect our children, and one family's search for a place to call home. To participate in the book discussion, email

For additional information about the Summer Books Series, contact Program Specialist Michelle Edgar at

The Summer Book Series is co-sponsored by The Jewish Federation of Somerset, Hunterdon, and Warren Counties, The JCC Holocaust Memorial and Education Center, and The New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education.

RVCC is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. For further information, visit



May 3, 2023

PR #136