Reading Level: Middle Grade
Genre: Historical Fiction/Graphic Novel
Length: 80 pages
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
“In this gentle, poetic young graphic novel, Dounia, a grandmother, tells her granddaughter the story even her son has never heard: how, as a young Jewish girl in Paris, she was hidden away from the Nazis by a series of neighbors and friends who risked their lives to keep her alive when her parents had been taken to concentration camps.
Hidden ends on a tender note, with Dounia and her mother rediscovering each other as World War II ends . . . and a young girl in present-day France becoming closer to her grandmother, who can finally, after all those years, tell her story. With words by Loïc Dauvillier and art by Marc Lizano and Greg Salsedo, this picture book-style comic for young readers is a touching read.”
My 10 year old son picked this graphic novel up at the library and wanted me to read it so we could discuss. This is a very well done recounting of the Holocaust from a child’s POV. I was impressed with how well the feel of the era was portrayed while keeping things at a level that children will understand.
As a parent some of the scenes in this were especially touching. Watching as Dounia’s parents tried to make wearing the Star of David a “fun” thing for their daughter and make her feel special even as the world around them was descending into violence. It was sad how even all their efforts couldn’t protect them from the atrocities of that time.
Parts of this book are very sad, but in the end the tone ends up being hopeful. My son really liked it because he said he felt like he understood a lot better how things went then. He mentioned he had never read an account of the Holocaust from a Jewish kid’s point of view and this really brought home to him how scary and awful the Holocaust was.
My son has actually read through this a few more times, he told me he is trying to understand why people would do the types of things that happened in the Holocaust. This book is a great discussion point of an era in history that needs to be discussed with kids so that nothing like that ever happens again. It’s presented in a way that is approachable.
Additionally the graphic novel itself is well put together. The illustrations are well done and the story is easy to follow. The characters are engaging and easy to relate to.
Overall I would highly recommend this graphic novel. It is a very well done accounting of the Holocaust from a Jewish child’s point of view. This is something every parent should talk to their children about and this is a great way to do that. Just be prepared for lots of questions and remember parts of it are sad.