Lily Renée, Escape Artist: From Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book Pioneer

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Overview

In 1938, Lily Renée Wilheim is a 14-year-old Jewish girl living in Vienna. Her days are filled with art and ballet. Then the Nazis march into Austria, and Lily's life is shattered overnight. Suddenly, her own country is no longer safe for her or her family. To survive, Lily leaves her parents behind and travels alone to England.

Escaping the Nazis is only the start of Lily's journey. She must escape many more times—from servitude, hardship, and danger. Will she find a way to ...

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Lily Renée, Escape Artist: From Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book Pioneer

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Overview

In 1938, Lily Renée Wilheim is a 14-year-old Jewish girl living in Vienna. Her days are filled with art and ballet. Then the Nazis march into Austria, and Lily's life is shattered overnight. Suddenly, her own country is no longer safe for her or her family. To survive, Lily leaves her parents behind and travels alone to England.

Escaping the Nazis is only the start of Lily's journey. She must escape many more times—from servitude, hardship, and danger. Will she find a way to have her own sort of revenge on the Nazis? Follow the story of a brave girl who becomes an artist of heroes and a true pioneer in comic books.

A 2012 Sydney Taylor Honor Book for Older Readers

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—Like the comic books that Lily Renée Wilheim drew in the 1940s as a pioneer woman in a male-dominated industry, this biography is a tale of peril and suspense. Lily, an affluent Austrian Jewish girl, was one of the last children to be transported safely to England in 1939. After a few years with a sponsor family, she got a series of jobs caring for children and in a maternity hospital. After England entered the war, she lost contact with her parents and was later classified as an enemy alien. The tale of her reconciliation with her family in America and subsequent success as a graphic artist is classically upbeat. The book is drawn in a style that seems to imitate Wilheim's wartime comics—gestures and expressions are stylized and formal; characters stand or move stiffly. Think Brenda Starr, Girl Reporter. Add to this drawing style a tendency toward melodrama and few named characters except the subject and this book might be a tough sell. Improving its odds is back matter that includes a gallery of photographs of the charismatic Lily and brief essays on subjects as diverse as the British monetary system and the Automat.—Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, MD
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761381143
  • Publisher: Graphic Universe
  • Publication date: 11/28/2011
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 265,268
  • Age range: 10 - 13 Years
  • Lexile: GN510L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Writer and feminist herstorian Trina Robbins has been writing books, comics, and graphic novels for over 30 years. Her most recent books are The Brinkley Girls (Fantagraphics) and Forbidden City: The Golden Age of Chinese Nightclubs (Hampton Press). Her newest graphic novel is the three-part YA series Chicagoland Detective Agency for Graphic Universe.

Anne Timmonswas born in Portland, Oregon, and received her BFA from Oregon State University. In addition to her collaboration with Trina Robbins on the Lulu Award-winning GoGirl!, Anne's work includes the Eisner-nominated Dignifying Science and Pigling: A Cinderella Story for Lerner's Graphic Myths and Legends series. She has illustrated and painted covers for children's books and provided interior and cover art for regional and national magazines, including Wired, Portland Review, and Comic Book Artist. Anne's art also appears in the anthology 9-11: Artists Respond and is now in the Library of Congress.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2011

    This is an amazing portrayal of Lily Renée's escape from the Nazis and her youthful tenacity ...

    The cobblestone streets of 1938 Vienna were calm and peaceful as people made their way through to shop or head to one of many cultural exhibits the city had to offer. Lily Renée Wilhelm lacked for nothing as her father, Rudolph, was the manager of the Holland America line, a premier transatlantic steamship company know for their "elegant vacation cruises". Lily was introduced to such things as the ballet, opera, and took dance and art lessons. At a local gallery, people clustered around to get a look at the work of such a young artist, but Lily's hopes and dreams would suddenly come to a jarring halt on on March 12, 1938 when "Hitler's Nazi army invaded Austria." Hitler's dream of Anschluss had quickly dashed Lily's dreams and brought fear into the Wilhelm household. Some Austrians were excited when the Nazi's marched through the streets, but Jews were not ... the Wilhelm's were Jewish.

    Lily Renée's family soon had many of their personal possessions confiscated. Displaced Jews were forcibly moved to Vienna and made to live with other familys, including the Wilhelm's. Merchants had to mark their store windows to identify themselves and many of Lily's friends chose to ignore and bully her. Jude. She was a Jude. Violence and change was on the horizon. The family grew more and more worried, especially when the Gestapo sent Uncle Samuel to Dachau. More and more restrictions came raining down on the heads of Jews in Vienna. In Berlin Herschel Grynzpan grew angry at the "brutal treatment of his family by the Nazi [and] had shot and killed a German diplomat." Soon the windows of merchants were shattered on Kristallnacht. It was time for Lily to leave and she would join the Kindertransport to escape the Nazis. Would she make it safely to England? Would she ever see her parents again or would they end up in a concentration camp like Uncle Samuel?

    This is an amazing portrayal of Lily Renée's escape from the Nazis and her youthful tenacity. Many graphic novels quickly draw me in, but this one more than others. One of the fascinating things was that Lily was a female pioneer of the comic book heroine. The ultimate revenge perhaps is to succeed, something that both Lily and Trina Robbins have both done as pioneers in their field. Trina was and illustrator of the 1960s Wonder Woman comic books. This novel may not appeal to the reader who enjoys a simple tale, a twisted sci fi, or mystery, but will definitely draw in the more serious reader and the collector.

    The artwork is crisp, bold, and meshes well with the serious nature of the tale. In the back of the book is a glossary, information on concentration camps, internment camps, British customs, English coinage, information about period British politicians Chaberlain and Churchill, a portrait of Queen Wilhemina, information on the Holland America line, the Horn & Hardart Automat, wartime comic book artists, and a photo album of Lily Renée and her family. This is a graphic novel that can easily be used as a stepping stone for a school report. This is an unusual biographical Holocaust novel that you should seriously considering adding to your homeschool, library or classroom shelves.


    This book courtesy of the publisher

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 14, 2014

    a great historical book to contrast and compare with Maus and hi

    a great historical book to contrast and compare with Maus and historical stories like anne Frank and the number of the stars... this i a positive story that shows the hard ship of those who survived the Nazi war crimes and the anti Semitic view of the world at that time... as inspiring as the tragic historical stories of that time

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