Thursday, January 16, 2014

This book is truly wonderful

"Here's to books, the cheapest vacation you can buy."  
                  - Charlaine Harris

Author:  Loic Dauvillier
Illustrator:  Marc Lizano
Color: Greg Salsedo
Translated by:  Alexis Siegel

First of all let me say I don't normally like graphic novels.  I don't know why but I just don't.  I opened this one up and loved it from the very first page.  This gem of a book tells the story of a little girl named Elsa, who cannot sleep.  She gets up and finds her grandma sitting in the living room looking through an album of photos crying.  She persuades her grandma to tell her why she is so upset and learns a story that even her dad does not know.   Grandma, whose name is Dounia,  goes back to her school days and tells about her life growing up.  She is a happy little girl, living a simple life and enjoying her friends at school.  One day her father comes home and says they will have to become "a family of sheriffs " by wearing yellow stars on their shirts.

This very act of sewing on a yellow star and proudly wearing it to school drastically changes Dounia's life.  This little Jewish girl begins to be taunted, shunned and humiliated because of her ethnicity.  The teacher makes her sit at the back of the classroom, mocks her during lesson time, and doesn't let her participate in class discussion anymore.  Her dad loses his job and together as a family they stay inside and do not go out any more.  One night a loud bang is heard at the door and the nazis enter into their apartment.  Her parents hide Dounia in an armoire and tell her not to make a sound or move until someone comes and gets her.  Her neighbour comes and rescues her and then takes care of her because her parents have been taken off by the nazis.  She is forced once again to flee for her life with her neighbours, because she is a Jew.

I loved the artwork.  It fit the tone of the storyline perfectly and had kind of a haunting, macabre, feel to it.  It is mind boggling to me how something like this could even occur and how cruel it was to all the Jewish people involved (especially the children).  This would be an excellent book to teach children about the holocaust because while it doesn't go into the gory details it manages to capture the horror and calamity of a very dark time in history. Release date for this book will be April 1, 2014.

About the author:

Loïc Dauvillier is above all a book lover. He has penned a great many picture books and comics adaptations of classics (Around the World in 80 DaysOliver Twist), as well as other more personal and autobiographical works. Hidden is his most recent graphic novel.

About the illustrator:

Marc Lizano has lent his pen to over forty books. Today he is one of the most sought after cartoonists and works in a wide range of styles and genres on graphic novels and picture books for young readers and for adults. Hidden is his most recent graphic novel.

                    Book review rating:   8 (Fantastic!)

Read on and read always!

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