THE SEARCH

Evocatively written and deftly illustrated, this graphic novel about the Holocaust might be one of the best since Maus. Esther, an adult Jewish woman who grew up in Germany, embarks on a pilgrimage to the farm where she was hidden during her girlhood in World War II. Sharing her story with her young grandson on the way, she takes him and readers through the egregious injustices and unthinkable acts of violence perpetrated by the Nazis and their sympathizers. Esther recounts a brief stay with her best friend, Dutch (and non-Jewish) Helena, who harbored her family after they were run out of their home. Helena’s accounts of the war are collected in the comparably excellent and equally stellar companion volume, also published in cooperation with the Anne Frank House, A Family Secret (ISBN: 978-0-374-32271-7). Clear and concise explanations depict the struggles and the horrors of the time. Heuvel holds little back from his audience, presenting his facts starkly through Tintin-like illustrations that depict the atrocities without artifice. Gripping and visceral, these two volumes together are must-haves. (Graphic historical fiction. 10 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-374-36517-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2009

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Poignant, respectful, and historically accurate while pulsating with emotional turmoil, adventure, and suspense.

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REFUGEE

In the midst of political turmoil, how do you escape the only country that you’ve ever known and navigate a new life? Parallel stories of three different middle school–aged refugees—Josef from Nazi Germany in 1938, Isabel from 1994 Cuba, and Mahmoud from 2015 Aleppo—eventually intertwine for maximum impact.

Three countries, three time periods, three brave protagonists. Yet these three refugee odysseys have so much in common. Each traverses a landscape ruled by a dictator and must balance freedom, family, and responsibility. Each initially leaves by boat, struggles between visibility and invisibility, copes with repeated obstacles and heart-wrenching loss, and gains resilience in the process. Each third-person narrative offers an accessible look at migration under duress, in which the behavior of familiar adults changes unpredictably, strangers exploit the vulnerabilities of transients, and circumstances seem driven by random luck. Mahmoud eventually concludes that visibility is best: “See us….Hear us. Help us.” With this book, Gratz accomplishes a feat that is nothing short of brilliant, offering a skillfully wrought narrative laced with global and intergenerational reverberations that signal hope for the future. Excellent for older middle grade and above in classrooms, book groups, and/or communities looking to increase empathy for new and existing arrivals from afar.

Poignant, respectful, and historically accurate while pulsating with emotional turmoil, adventure, and suspense. (maps, author’s note) (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: July 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-88083-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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An outstanding new edition of this popular modern classic (Newbery Award, 1961), with an introduction by Zena Sutherland and...

ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS

Coming soon!!

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1990

ISBN: 0-395-53680-4

Page Count: -

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2000

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