Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust, masterfully introduces young readers to both the gut-wrenching horror, and the triumph of human spirit that one girl experienced in Paris in June of 1940.
The book begins with a contemporary child sleeping in a contemporary bedroom. The technique is a fabulous tool to attract reluctant readers with familiarity. Restless, the girl seeks her grandmother’s solace and her Grandma chooses to share with her the most meaningful piece of her personal history.
Grandma’s name is Dounia and she lives in Paris with her parents. Dounia is surprised to find her hard working father home from work early one day. He tells the family that they’ve been asked to be sheriffs and explains that they need to sew their sheriff stars on their jackets. It doesn’t take Dounia long to realize that her father has told her his first lie. The stars represent the fact that they are Jewish and her father is home from work because he has lost his job.
Author Loic Dauvillier and Illustrator Marc Lizano strike an enviable balance of warmth and fear, hope and love. Dounia witnesses moments of incredible darkness, violence and loss yet she is also protected by a loving family and housed by a warm farming family. Shout-out also to Colorist, Greg Salsedo who has chosen a beautiful color palette with slight fluctuations during Dounia’s moments of joy.
The book will be released in early April and would make a fabulous companion to any events surrounding he National Holocaust Remembrance Week. The book is appropriate for children from late grade school years and up though parents and educators should be aware that this is meant to serve as an introduction to the topic of the holocaust and will very likely lead to many new questions and thoughts from readers of every age.