08 May 2014

Review: Hidden by Loic Dauvillier, Marc Lizano, and Greg Salsedo

Hidden by Loie Dauvillier, Mare Lizano, & Greg SalsedoAlthough the official Holocaust Remembrance Day was April 27, we shouldn't need to mark our calendars to remember the millions of people killed in war, in concentration camps, and on the streets of Europe in 1930s and 1940s.

Last month, First Second published Hidden, the English-language version of Loic Dauvillier, Mare Lizano, and Greg Salsedo's moving story (originally written in French) about a young Jewish girl's experiences during the French Occupation.

Presented in the guise of a graphic novel and geared to early or middle grade readers, Hidden tells a personal story of confusion, fear, and loss but also of hope, kindness, and happy days, even in the midst of war.

Dounia Cohen, was in primary school when she was forced to wear the yellow star that her father told her would make her a sheriff. Although she is too young to understand everything, Dounia is quick to realize that her father didn't tell her the truth. She also soon learns how lucky she is to have adults around who are willing to help and protect her.

She tries not to cry when her parents are taken away in the night and knows not to argue when her name is changed to Simone and she is told to call a neighbor lady "mama." Secreted off to the countryside, where she learns to milk cows, go to mass, and play in the sunshine, "Simone"--and her new mother--survive the war in good shape.

After France is liberated and the war ends, the two return to Paris and begin the heartbreaking search for Dounia's parents.

Dauvillier, Lizano, and Salsedo do not lose track of their intended audience. The horrors of the war are seen through the eyes of the child, so, for example, the particulars of the concentration camps are not discussed. At the same time, the story is not sugar-coated or dumbed down for young readers. The authors clearly depict Dounia's humiliation and fear after the occupation and how much she misses her parents after she's been separated from them. She is also aware of the city around her and sees ugly graffiti on the street and witnesses some of the violence.

copyright Lizano, Dauvillier, Salsedo, Le LombardHidden also delivers on the message that we can all make a difference in other people's lives. We can open our hearts and homes to those in need, we can resist prejudices and corrupt governments, and we can find love and hope even in the darkest of times.

Beautifully illustrated with appropriately muted colors, Hidden is a wonderful place to start having discussions with your kids about important issues. If children are not too young to experience war and hate firsthand, they are also not too young to learn about it and to understand that they don't have to accept it.

Note: The scan is from page 42 (click to enlarge) and shows one of the more violent scenes, so you can have an idea of what to expect. Note too that Dounia is telling her story many years later to her little granddaughter, so young readers already know that she survived the war. All rights remain with the copyright holders.

Published by Roaring Brook Press / First Second, 2014
ISBN-13: 9781596438736
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


bermudaonion 5/8/14, 9:08 AM  

Oh my gosh, I want that book! It looks fantastic!

Daryl 5/8/14, 9:08 AM  

i think there should be more books about the war/holocaust aimed at children to help teach and counter balance those who insist it never happened …

Jenn's Bookshelves 5/8/14, 2:43 PM  

This looks so good. Definitely a book that I (and the boys) can appreciate.

Linda 5/8/14, 4:41 PM  

I have this one from the library. I need to make time to read it soon.

Vasilly 5/8/14, 6:31 PM  

I'm going to see if my library has this. It sounds amazing.

Sandy Nawrot 5/9/14, 5:45 AM  

You know I can't pass up a graphic novel, especially one about the Holocaust (I recently just bought Maus I and II for keeps, and for my son to read). I'm off to see if my library has this.

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