Friday, November 6, 2009

The Search by Eric Heuvel

The SearchA companion to A Family Secret, The Search tells Esther's story of what happened to her during World War II. As a German Jew, she and her family faced discrimination and abuse and finally chose to emigrate from Germany to Holland. There, she befriends Helena, a Dutch girl and neighbor. When the Nazis invade the Netherlands, Esther and her family face many of the same discrimination as they had in Germany and worry about being transported to labor camps, so they decide to go into hiding. Before they can arrange for the hiding places, Esther's parents are picked up by the Germans in a mass sweep of the neighborhood. Esther then tells the story of how she goes into hiding alone and what happened to her during and after the war.

Told in graphic novel format, The Search tells about the horrible events of the Holocaust. The pictures aren't overly gruesome or violent, but the reader does get a sense of how despicable the events truly were. For example, when talking about how many Soviet Jews were rounded up, shot in the forests and dumped in mass graves, the reader sees the pit with the Jewish people by it and German soldiers with weapons, then a close-up of the terror on the faces of the Jewish people, then in the next frame the German soldiers by the pit with a mound of clothing behind it. You get the idea of what happened, but you don't actually see it.

The Search and A Family Secret used together will be a great introduction to the world of Anne Frank. Students who are not familiar with the events of Anne's day will get a glimpse of what life was like for her and many others. By using the graphic novel format, this story will be accessible to many students of all levels, including reluctant readers.

I give this book a B, Recommended.

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