SEEKING REFUGE by Irene N. Watts
Kirkus Star


Age Range: 10 - 16
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An 11-year-old Jewish girl travels alone from Berlin to Great Britain in the Kindertransport of 1938.

In a follow-up to Good-bye Marianne (1998), Watts and Shoemaker continue their adaptation of Watts’ 2000 novel, Remember Me. On the cover, a girl sits forlornly on a suitcase under the bold black title against a background of Nazi red. Endpapers offer a hopeful hint of her mother’s soft embrace as she looks at the starry night sky. Sandwiched in between is a straightforward, first-person telling of Marianne Kohn’s story as she holds out hope of a reunion with her parents. Author and illustrator show their collaborative finesse in a wonderfully rendered marriage between text and art. Nine chapters shape Marianne’s journey, each beginning with a map on a stark black page that seems to loom over a year of wartime bleakness. Marianne is in the dark about her future, literally and figuratively. Fuzzily drawn, gray-toned panels make her fear and loneliness palpable. She’s billeted in one unhappy situation after another in London and Wales, often with sponsors scornful of refugees. She’s renamed by one woman who “wants me to call her ‘Mother’ and turn me into her dead child.” Thought bubbles clearly convey Marianne’s deepest concerns while she stumbles through conversations in English.

A book that invites close reading, this will spark interest in the plight of all refugees. (glossary) (Graphic historical fiction. 10-16)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-926890-02-9
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Tradewind Books
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2017


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