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Hidden: A Child's Story of the Holocaust

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Elizabeth Wein
…achingly familiar…the vibrant and respected tradition of [the graphic novel] in France is well represented here by the illustrator Marc Lizano's exquisite attention to period detail and the subtle, complementary shading of the colorist Greg Salsedo…Though readers may be tempted to race through to find out what happens, Lizano's illustrations reward careful observation…
Publishers Weekly
01/20/2014
Dauvillier’s graphic novel about a Jewish girl’s survival in France during the Holocaust balances the cruelty of the persecution she experiences with the miraculous generosity of her neighbors. Lizano’s artwork, too, lightens the story’s grimmer moments—the outsize heads and pin-dot eyes of the characters are almost reminiscent of the Peanuts gang. Dounia Cohen, now a grandmother, recalls for her granddaughter the growing strictures on the lives of Jews, culminating one terrible night with the arrival of the police; her parents have seconds to hide her before they’re taken away. After the Péricards, trusted neighbors, take Dounia in, Mr. Péricard is betrayed. Dounia, consumed up until then with her own grief, realizes that the war causes pain for others: “I think it’s from that moment on that I no longer wanted to cry.” Dounia’s confusion and sorrow as she waits for her parents’ return (her mother survives, her father doesn’t) are drawn with perception and care. That Dounia chooses to tell her young granddaughter a story she has never revealed to her own son conveys both the persistence of grief and the possibility of healing. Ages 6–up. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"The graphic novel format helps reinforce the contrast between the dark, scary moments and the happier times." - The Horn Book

"Affecting and effective" - BCCB

*"Lizano draws people the same way that small children do: a giant oval for the head and two dots for the eyes. But his people always have complicated expressions on their faces. They never show just one emotion . . . No book can sum up all of the Holocaust, but this graphic novel seems to contain every possible human emotion. Remarkably, most of the time, it does it with an oval and two dots." - Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"A Holocaust experience told as a bedtime story? It sounds crazy, but here it works." - Booklist

"Lizano’s stylized illustrations depict characters with oversize heads, reminiscent of "Peanuts" comics, giving this difficult subject an age-appropriate touch . . . Pair this poignant graphic novel with Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars." - School Library Journal

Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
Introducing the Holocaust to young children is always a delicate and challenging task. This French graphic novel is an excellent “gateway” book to begin the conversation with elementary school students. The story is divided into three sections beginning with an introduction in which a small, sleepless child finds her grandmother looking at old family photos. The second section is the grandmother’s story of her years as a “hidden” child during World War II. Dounia Cohen is a typical French schoolgirl until the day her father tells her that she will have to wear a “sheriff’s badge” whenever she leaves the house. Her friend, Isaac, tells her it is not a badge of honor like in American western movies, but a badge of bigotry; a Jewish star to show that Dounia and Issac are different from their Christian friends. One night, the Gestapo comes to Dounia’s door and her parents hide her in the false bottom of a wardrobe. Hours later, the fear-stricken child is retrieved by a neighbor who takes her in and helps her pass for Christian. There is something especially chilling when Mrs. Pericard, the neighbor, throws Dounia’s yellow star into the fire because, with a foreknowledge of the Holocaust, Dounia has now become an outlaw instead of a sheriff. Mr. Pericard joins the French Resistance while Mrs. Pericard (now “Mama”) and Dounia hide on a farm in the countryside. A wonderful graphic illustrates the passage of time as the seasons change through four adjoining triangular panels. When the war ends, Dounia is reunited with her mother but not her father. In the final third of the book, Dounia apologizes to her son for hiding her personal story from him. A poignant and heart-breaking addition to the literature of the Shoah to be shared selectively and carefully. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross; Ages 8 to 12.
School Library Journal
03/01/2014
Gr 3–6—Elsa and her grandmother Dounia can't fall asleep one night, and the little girl begs the older woman to share the reason for her sadness. Dounia recounts her experience as a Jewish child in Nazi-occupied Paris in 1942. Heartbreaking incidents, such as being ostracized by a teacher and former friends or having to don a yellow a star, are told from a child's perspective, filled with confusion and innocence. Eventually, the little girl is hidden under a panel in her family's wardrobe as police vandalize her home and arrest her parents. Neighbors, the Pericards, rescue Dounia and adopt her while they try to locate her mother and father, who have been transferred to a concentration camp. Dauvillier doesn't shy away from the brutal truth in this portrayal of the Holocaust. Interspersed with Dounia's flashbacks are present-day moments of dialogue between the narrator and Elsa, which are depicted in brown and tan hues. Elsa asks questions and offers comments that young readers might also be grappling with while reading this tale. Lizano's stylized illustrations depict characters with oversize heads, reminiscent of "Peanuts" comics, giving this difficult subject an age-appropriate touch. The subdued palette of blues and greens match the story's tone, and the plethora of images highlighting meals, country scenes, and family time places more emphasis on the people who helped one another during this terrible period than on the heinous acts committed. The final image, one of familial love and peace, will pull heartstrings. Pair this poignant graphic novel with Lois Lowry's Number the Stars (Houghton Mifflin, 1989).—Shelley Diaz, School Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-02-26
The most moving scenes of this graphic novel have no words at all. Lizano draws people the same way that small children do: a giant oval for the head and two dots for the eyes. But his people always have complicated expressions on their faces. They never show just one emotion. They're angry and perplexed or cheerful and bemused. (Colorist Salsedo supplies a sad, muted palette that complements the mood perfectly.) When the Nazis force the Jews to wear yellow stars, Dounia's mother looks frightened and furious and bewildered. Her father looks surprisingly happy. He says, "This morning, I was at a big meeting. Some people suggested that we become a family of sheriffs." He says it very calmly, and Dounia doesn't realize for a long time afterward that he was telling a comforting lie. This should be a sad story, but the family lives through the darkest moments of the war with determination and grace and even humor. Dounia doesn't let her emotions fully register until years later, when she's telling the story to her granddaughter. On the last pages of the book, in a few quiet, powerful panels, her face shows grief and guilt and fear and resignation. No book can sum up all of the Holocaust, but this graphic novel seems to contain every possible human emotion. Remarkably, most of the time, it does it with an oval and two dots. (Graphic historical fiction. 6-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596438736
  • Publisher: First Second
  • Publication date: 4/1/2014
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 153,335
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: GN300L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet 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 Days, Oliver Twist), as well as other more personal and autobiographical works. Hidden is his most recent work, and his first collaboration with Marc Lizano and Greg Salsedo.

 

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. He collaborated with writer Loïc Dauvillier and colorist Greg Salsedo on Hidden.

 

Greg Salsedo is a highly regarded young French comics colorist and designer. Hidden is his most recent work.

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