Author: Loic Dauvillier
To Be Published: April 2014
Edition Read: Netgalley Electronic Copy
Level Recommended: Elementary to Middle School
Overall: I found hidden to be a really sweet and lovely read.
Summary: (Netgalley) In this gentle, poetic young graphic novel, Dounia, a grandmother, tells her granddaughter the story even her son has never heard: how, as a young Jewish girl in Paris, she was hidden away from the Nazis by a series of neighbors and friends who risked their lives to keep her alive when her parents had been taken to concentration camps.
Review: Hidden was a very sweet graphic novel, and I believe that is hard to do with such a heavy subject as the Holocaust. Dounia tells her granddaughter what life was like in France when the Nazi's began to enforce their rule on the Jewish people. Dounia tells her story in a very personable and kind way. When Dounia explains what it was like to go from being a happy student in her class to a student that is pushed to the back of the class and entirely ignored her granddaughter asks why anyone would be so cruel. Dounia kindly explains that the non-Jewish people in France where scared, and that this possibly fueled their anger.
When Dounia tells her granddaughter how her parents were eventually pushed into reclusiveness, and eventually that her parents are taken away to a concentration camp by the police. Dounia becomes a hidden child during the Holocaust, and a kind neighbor and her husband take her in as their own. Dounia tells about all these events in her life without loosing the child-like point-of-view that she had. The author does an amazing job of continuing to gently tell the story without losing the child-like point-of-view. This method of story telling makes Hidden an engaging and relatable read for young children.
The artwork appropriately lends a itself to visually telling about the horrible treatment of the Jewish people without the dialogue having to do all the heavy lifting. While Dounia talks about how graffiti begins to take over the once beautiful walls of the city readers can see the police bullying and hitting store shop owners. The artwork is simple with clean lines and gorgeous colors that capture the eye, but doesn't overcrowd the page. I believe young readers will be attracted to the simplicity of the artwork without being overwhelmed by words or pictures. Both the text and the artwork compliment each other beautifully.
I really enjoyed this graphic novel, and felt it really hit it's mark. I found the novel to be completely appropriate for younger readers, but also relatable to all age groups. I feel that it's an excellent accompaniment to any lesson dealing with learning about the Holocaust. The novel really helps the reader understand what it could have been like to live during the Holocaust.
I encourage all readers with an interest in historical fiction to pick this up once it goes on sale.