January 14, 2016
Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loic Dauvillier, illustrated by Marc Lizano
A Child’s Story of the Holocaust
by Loic Dauvillier
illustrated by Marc Lizano
When Else wakes in the night, she discovers that her grandmother is also awake. When Else asks if Grandmother has had a nightmare, the older woman explains that that is one way to look at it. Around her are a scattering of old photos and letters.
Soon she is telling Else of her childhood in Paris and the day that she came home from school to find that her family would now be wearing sherrif’s stars. She isn’t sure why this is, since there are no sherriffs in Paris, but the next day the teachers and even her best friend are mean to her. When she fails to understand what is going on, her teacher asks if she needs to explain it in another language.
Eventually, another student explains that it isn’t a sheriff’s star but a Star of David. Eventually Dounia quits going to school and her parents teach her in their apartment which they almost never leave. When the police pound on the door in the middle of the night, her parents hide her in the base of a wardrobe. When the cabinet is tipped, Dounia is trapped until the downstairs neighbor pulls her out. I’m not going to discuss the plot any more because I don’t want to give away the twists and turns.
So many books set in World War II are set in Germany so it was interesting to read about France. This graphic novel was first published in French and the language is retained in the illustrations.
The book is for ages 6 to 10. I’m not sure my son would have been interested at 6 but I don’t think it is too harsh or graphic. It isn’t that kind of graphic novel. Although the author discusses the camps it is simply done in terms of “so-and-so was in X camp” and Dounia looks at lists of people who have returned from the camps. Dauvillier never describes or explains the camps but Dounia does state at one point in the story that it is obvious something bad goes on there and the image shows someone from a camp.
This book wouldn’t be right for every 6 year old but as stories about the Holocaust go it isn’t harsh or graphic. If you have a young child in your life who is asking questions, this book would make an excellent, thoughtful introduction. It shows that the war affected many people but doesn’t specifically show the violence or tortures of the camps.