Hidden Child

Hidden Child

4.0 15
by Millman, Isaac Millman

A powerful story of survival, loss, and hope

Isaac was seven when the Germans invaded France and his life changed forever. First his father was taken away, and then, two years later, Isaac and his mother were arrested. Hoping to save Isaac’s life, his mother bribed a guard to take him to safety at a nearby hospital, where he and many other children

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A powerful story of survival, loss, and hope

Isaac was seven when the Germans invaded France and his life changed forever. First his father was taken away, and then, two years later, Isaac and his mother were arrested. Hoping to save Isaac’s life, his mother bribed a guard to take him to safety at a nearby hospital, where he and many other children pretended to be sick, with help from the doctors and nurses. But this proved a temporary haven. As Isaac was shuttled from city to countryside, experiencing the kindness of strangers, and sometimes their cruelty, he had to shed his Jewish identity to become Jean Devolder. But he never forgot who he really was, and he held on to the hope that after the war he would be reunited with his parents.

After more than fifty years of keeping his story to himself, Isaac Millman has broken his silence to tell it in spare prose, vivid composite paintings, and family photos that survived the war.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This poignant account is a must." — Starred, Booklist

"Powerful use of color and composition. [Millman's] writing is smooth and direct. A must." — Starred, Kirkus Reviews

"We feel his desolation intensely, yet also feel the bravery of most of the ordinary people . . . who took in children." —Chicago Tribune

"Stirring." —Washington Post Book World

"An excellent example of storytelling that is truthful, poetic and authentic." — The New York Times Book Review

"An extraordinary book and a moving tribute to those who vanished." —Starred, Publishers Weekly

"Millman's direct, evocative language touches on the emotions of his past without overembellishing." — Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Karen MacPherson
Millman's story is stirring, especially because he tells it through the eyes of his young self. Personalizing history this way helps ensure that young readers truly understand—and remember—the toll of the Holocaust, as well as those brave souls who fought against it.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Millman (the Moses series) here tells his own story: during the Nazi occupation of France, he was a hidden child. Millman is the surname of the American family that adopted the author/artist after the war; growing up in Paris, he was Isaac Sztrymfman, the only son of doting Polish Jewish immigrants. Playing pretend battleships with his best friend "was as close as war came to us then. It was a game." When Isaac was seven, Germany invaded France and Papa was arrested. Two years later, the boy and his mother were imprisoned after a thwarted escape attempt. But Mama succeeded in bribing a guard to save Isaac from deportation (she, along with Isaac's father, perished at Auschwitz), setting off a chain of events that led him to a remarkable protector named Hena. Millman's unadorned but carefully detailed writing is beautifully pitched for a middle school audience. The most heart-wrenching moments-a final glimpse of Papa waving through the barbed wire of the internment camp, Mama's tears on Isaac's cheeks as she hands him to the bribed guard, Hena's whispered confidence, "I'm a Jew, too," when she discovers an abandoned Isaac sobbing in front the building that was once his home-are bearable, but barely so. Millman intersperses the text with archival photographs and his own mural-like watercolor montages of the events, as if to demonstrate that history is made up of two currents-those things that can be documented, and those that become the underpinnings of memories, pain, longing and resilience. An extraordinary book and a moving tribute to those who vanished. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-Millman briefly describes his life in prewar Paris, the Nazi invasion when he was seven, and his father's arrest. Two years later, he and his mother made a daring attempt to escape from the city, but were apprehended. After a desperate exchange of jewels and money, Isaac's mother arranged to have him removed from the deportation line and sent to a hospital. Later, he was brought back to Paris, where he was abandoned. Confused and scared, he was discovered by another Jew, who took him to gentile friends in the countryside, where he was hidden openly, living as a Christian with a new name. Millman tells his story in a straightforward, yet compelling voice, mindful of both the cruelty and kindness of the strangers he encountered. He never forgot his parents, yet was able to live as any child, making friends and attending school. Dense text pages-with occasional black-and-white photos-alternate with double-page montage paintings in which Millman presents images that emphasize his fears, emotions, and reactions to the events he describes. Muted colors work together with bolder tints to highlight the intensity of life. Bright blues depict the prewar vitality of Paris versus dark reds for the German deportation roundups. Despite the horror of losing most of his family, the author expresses his gratitude for his salvation and his eventual adoption by an American Jewish family at age 15. An inspiring and powerful view of this tragic period in human history.-Rita Soltan, Youth Services Consultant, West Bloomfield, MI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Millman, who lived his first years as Isaac Sztrymfman in Paris, provides a crystal clear, heart-wrenching chronicle of his years in hiding during the Holocaust. Isaac is seven when the Nazis invade France. His father is deported and his mother tries to bring Isaac south to Vichy France. She's caught but bribes a guard to send Isaac alone to a hospital where Jewish children are secretly sheltered until homes are found. After placement in one abusive home, Isaac is brought to a kind widow for the duration. His parents (he learns after the war) perish at Auschwitz. Pages of text alternate with two types of illustration: painted double-page spreads in full color, showing many vignettes in concert; and small black-and-white photographs, including Isaac's family before the war and Isaac post-war. The photos are stark with clarity, their very survival a wonder. Millman's art is both delicate and harsh, with powerful use of color and composition. His writing is smooth and direct. A must. (afterword) (Nonfiction. 9-12)

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Product Details

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
8.62(w) x 12.12(h) x 0.37(d)
860L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 15 Years

Read an Excerpt

From Hidden Child:

Approximately 1,200,000 Jewish children were deported and murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators in the Holocaust of World War II. Most of those who survived did so by being sent into hiding. Some were hidden with other Jews. Some went to convents and monasteries; others were hidden on farms or taken in by non–Jewish families and individuals. My name is Isaac Sztrymfman, and I was a hidden child.

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