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Hidden: A Child's Story of the Holocaust

Hidden: A Child's Story of the Holocaust is written by Loic Dauvillier, illustrated by Marc Lizano and colored by Greg Salsedo.  It was also translated by Alexis Siegel.  It's a very slim, middle level graphic novel.  This is the second Holocaust themed graphic novel that I've read.  In college I read Art Spiegelman's Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History and Maus II: A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began; I also read Spiegelman's later graphic novel that depicted his experiences in New York City on September 11, 2001, and I highly recommend them all.

I don't know if Hidden is based upon the writer's family history or if it is a fictionalized Holocaust story.  Other than a synopsis of the story on the book jacket, there isn't really information on the writer and illustrator.  According to the publisher's website, Hidden is a Mildred L. Batchelder Honor Book, an America Library Association Notable Children's Book, and an Association of Jewish Libraries Sydney Taylor Honor Book.

The comic panels tell the harrowing story of Dounia Cohen's childhood living as a Jew in France in 1942.  The story opens immediately after the establishment of Vichy France when Germany's Nazis begin their systematic persecution of France's Jews.  The story is framed as a story within a story in that many years later, Dounia shares the story of her childhood with her granddaughter, Elsa, late one night.  After France falls to Germany, Dounia is persecuted by her teachers at her girls' school and scorned by her best friend.  Late one night when the police come to arrest her parents, Dounia's parents manage to hide her in the bottom of a dresser for safekeeping.  Early the next morning Dounia's neighbor lady, who turns out to be part of a network of people helping Jews hide in France, comes to get her, and Dounia's time in hiding begins.

Hidden tells the story of a scary situation that no child should have to endure.  And while it is very serious subject matter, the story is framed for younger readers because Elsa, the granddaughter to whom Dounia tells her story, is very young.  This would be a good book to introduce younger readers to the history of the Holocaust or to use as supplemental reading material in a unit about Holocaust.  You can print a brief reader's guide for the book here.

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie


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