Orca Book Publishers

Browse by Category

Nonfiction Ages 12+
Pages: 196
Themes: The Holocaust, intolerance, homophobia
Publisher: Second Story Press
Pub Date: 15/Apr/2013
Bookmark and Share
A history of the persecution of gay men by the Nazi regime during the Holocaust. When the Nazis came to power in Europe, the lives of homosexuals came to be ruled by fear as raids, arrests, prison sentences and expulsions became the daily reality. When the concentration camps were built, homosexuals were imprisoned along with Jews. The pink triangle, sewn onto prison uniforms, became the symbol of their persecution. This book combines historical research with first-person accounts and individual stories to bring this time to life for readers. From the first chapter, with its story of a young Jewish girl who was rescued from the depths of despair and starvation in the camps by a fellow prisoner who wore the pink triangle, to the last, entitled It Gets Better, which outlines the strides forward in gay rights made in the decades since the war, the feeling of bravery and perseverance in the face of inhuman cruelty shines through.

Kirkus Reviews
[Starred review] "An impassioned and cogent history of the persecution of gay men during the Holocaust...Never downplaying the appalling cataclysm that was the murder of 6 million Jews, Setterington nevertheless effectively makes the case for history’s need to remember Hitler’s other victims as well. Despite its brevity, a remarkably informative and necessary work."
CM Magazine
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.
The Midwest Book Review
Telling the stories of the men who faced this persecution, the long road back to acceptance, and the story of the pink triangle, "Branded by the Pink Triangle" is a strong addition to gay studies and history collections, as well as Holocaust studies collections.
Association of Jewish Libraries Reviews
This book is highly recommended for all collections that have Holocaust materials.
Quill & Quire
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.
The Deakin Review of Children's Literature
Branded by the Pink Triangle seamlessly blends factual history with compelling narrative to engage teen readers.
Cindy Mitchell, Kiss the Book blog
...a rich addition to a library for older readers that covers the Holocaust.
International Reading Association, Reading Today Online
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
School Library Journal
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.
Toronto Star
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.
The Windy City Times
Author Ken Setterington sets the record straight—so to speak—about the origin of the pink triangle and why even those in the LGBT community have, at times, overzealously tried to conceal its past.


Canadian Jewish Book Award for Holocaust Literature  | 2014 | Winner
TD Canadian Children's Literature Award Canadian Children's Book Centre | 2014 | Short-listed
The Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids and Teens (Starred)  | 2013 | Commended
United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) Outstanding International   | 2014 | Short-listed
The Canadian Children's Book Centre's LGBTQ2+ Stories Grades 7 and Up  | 2019 | Commended
Stonewall Book Award - Honor Book  | 2014 | Commended
Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction Canadian Children's Book Centre | 2014 | Short-listed
Bank Street College's "Best Children's Books of the Year" (History)  | 2014 | Commended
Rainbow List Top Ten Book, ALA's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Round Ta  | 2014 | Commended

Resources for Teachers:

Orca Book Publishers produces a number of tools and resources to help teachers, librarians, reading specialists and other education professionals enrich the teaching and learning experience.

Please visit our Teacher Resources page to access and download materials.

Classroom Materials:

Free Teacher Guides

Digital Subscriptions

Resource Websites

Research and Support Materials:

Common Core

Reading Levels