Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Catherine's War by Julia Billet and Claire Fauvel - ESSENTIAL

Catherine's War
by Julia Billet and Claire Fauvel
, 166 pages. GRAPHIC NOVEL Harper Alley (Harper Collins), 2020. $13. 

Content: G. 



Rachel Cohen lives in the Sevres Children's Home near Paris. She loves photography and has learned how to use the dark room from one of the teachers they call Penguin. Penguin has given her a beautiful camera. Rachel is Jewish, and the school, faced with endangering the children gives Rachel and the others false papers and new names and distribute them to other orphanages in France. Rachel, now called Catherine, is allowed to take the special camera and records her experiences over the next 4 years as she is one step ahead of being discovered by the Germans. 

Translated from French and based on the experiences of Julia Billet's mother, this is a hopeful WWII story about a Jewish girl hiding in plain sight. Fauvel's full color illustrations are great. The story flows well even though characters go in and out of her story quickly. Tension and peril without war scenes make this appropriate for even upper elementary, although Catherine seems to be older. Contains photographs and a Q&A at the end. 

Lisa Librarian

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