Star of Fear, Star of Hope

( 1 )

Overview

Nine-year-old Helen is confused by the disappearance of her Jewish friend during the German occupation of Paris.

Nine-year-old Helen is confused by the disappearance of her Jewish friend during the German occupation of Paris.

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Overview

Nine-year-old Helen is confused by the disappearance of her Jewish friend during the German occupation of Paris.

Nine-year-old Helen is confused by the disappearance of her Jewish friend during the German occupation of Paris.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Like Richter's Friedrich (1970) for older readers, this picture book dramatizes the Holocaust from the point of view of a gentile child who watches the mounting persecution of a Jewish friend. Translated from the French, the story is narrated by Helen, who remembers herself at nine years old in 1942 when the Nazis occupied northern France. Why does her best friend, Lydia, have to wear a yellow star? Why are people in hiding and using strange names? What is Lydia afraid of? Helen quarrels with her friend, and then Lydia is taken away, and Helen never sees her again. The book won the Graphics Prize at the 1994 Bologna Book Fair. The pastel pictures in sepia tones are understated, with an old-fashioned, almost childlike simplicity. In contrast to the quiet pictures of the children together inside the house, there's a climactic double-page street scene of a long column of people carrying suitcases and being marched away by the French police. Without being maudlin or sensational, the story brings the genocide home.” —Hazel Rochman, Booklist

“This poignant account of childhood innocence destroyed by the Nazi occupation of France touches both heart and mind. A woman named Helen, remembering her ninth birthday, still regrets the angry comment she made that day to her Jewish friend Lydia — who disappeared the next morning when the Nazis began rounding up the Jews and arresting them. The illustrations are minimal in detail yet emotionally evocative.”—The Horn Book

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Suffused with bittersweet regret, this sensitive picture book from France begins with the reminiscences of an old woman. The narrator, Helen, describes being eight years old-when it's 1942, in Nazi-occupied France. Her best friend, Lydia, has been forced to wear a Star of David on her jacket. The night of Helen's ninth birthday, Lydia sleeps over. While Helen's parents are at work, strangers tap on a neighbor's door, calling out strange passwords and looking for shelter. The Nazis are arresting Jews. Lydia asks to go home to her family, which infuriates Helen-it's her birthday, after all. Her last words to Lydia are "You're not my friend anymore!" She never sees Lydia again but, in all the intervening years, sustains hope (``with all my heart'') that Lydia has survived. In a powerful marriage of art and text, the simple, spare lines and muted tones of Kang's illustrations quietly support the poignant story. Fluidly written and centered in events a child can comprehend, the book is an ideal starting point for serious discussion about the Holocaust. Ages 7-10. (May)
Children's Literature - Judy Chernak
Helen, now an old woman, was nine-years-old when she lost her best friend, Lydia, during the Nazi occupation of France in 1942. Misunderstanding Lydia's sudden return home when the girls were to have spent the night together celebrating Helen's birthday, she burst out, "You're not my friend anymore!" But the appearance of Madam Eleven O'Clock and Midnight Ghost, both wearing yellow stars like Lydia's, had signaled the beginning of terrible times for Jews. Lydia was gone, and Helen's guilt haunted her the rest of her life. By writing her story, she hopes that Lydia, if she survived the Holocaust, will contact her again. The illustrations are done in primitive style, and the book won a graphics prize at the 1994 Bologna Book Fair, 1994. 1993 as La Grande peur sous les etoiles by Editions Syros.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4This extraordinarily moving picture book, originally published in France and set in the north of France during World War II, has spare prose and appropriately stark illustrations. An elderly woman recalls an incident in her childhood that she would give anything to undo. Her Jewish friend Lydia is visiting, and, in the middle of the night, a frightened Jewish woman seeking refuge awakens them by pounding on the door of a ``safe house'' across the hall. Lydia then asks to be taken home. With deep sorrow and guilt, Helen remembers that she shouted at her friend for leaving on the eve of her birthday. Stars are the symbols around which the story turns. Lydia's mother, sewing the yellow star on her daughter's jacket, explains that a new law compels Jews to wear them but that ``the place for stars is in the sky.'' The woman in the hall is trying to tear the star off her coat and when Helen, already contrite, opens the birthday present left for her by Lydia, she sees a paper doll with Lydia's face painted on, complete with a wardrobe including a jacket with a star. Helen never sees her friend again and, for a long time, she is angry at the stars. The illustrations appear to be of charcoal and crayon pastels in subdued colors with black outlines. The drawings are simple and barely rounded, almost as if the figures were paper dolls, as well. A mood of fear and impending doom prevails. Will it reach children? Absolutely. There is no book exactly like this one. Elisabeth Reuter's Best Friends (Yellow Brick Road, 1993) is somewhat similar, but Star is the superior title.Marcia W. Posner, Holocaust Memorial and Educational Center of Nassau County, Glen Cove, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802775887
  • Publisher: Walker & Company
  • Publication date: 1/1/1996
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 95,400
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.08 (w) x 11.19 (h) x 0.12 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 10, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    I first read this book with my mother when I was 7 years old, and I have never forgotten it since then. It's an incredibly gripping story that deals with childhood friendship and guilt during the beginning of the Holocaust. It's not a book with a lighthearted, feel-good ending, but it is a book that needs to be read to your child over and over again (with YOU, the PARENT, present) so as to introduce the subject of the Holocaust to a child in its purest essence. This book needs to be read so as to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive, and to do this we simply must pass it on to our children. This is NOT a book that should be given to a child with the pretense of "Here you go, have fun!" Instead, this is a book to be read with your child so that discussion and understanding can grow from it. Ultimately, it is a book that I have read to my own children and have recommended time and time again to other parents. Please, read this book and read it WITH your child. You'll certainly be glad you did.

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