Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust

Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loic Dauvillier, Illustrations by Marc Lizano, Ink by Greg Salsedo

A little girl wakes in the night and finds her grandmother is still up.  She asks if her grandmother has had a nightmare.  Dounia shares the story of her real life nightmare with her granddaughter, a story she has never even told her son.

Dounia was living in Paris with her parents when the Nazis came.  She tells of the early days when Jews were made to wear stars and simply excluded and humiliated.  And then she tells of the awful night when they came for her parents and how she was hidden away and kept safe.  Her story is one of many children throughout the war.  Children who were kept safe by kind neighbors and allies.  Dounia’s story is not without heartbreak, which is only appropriate given the subject matter.

It’s hard to write a book about the Holocaust for children.  It’s hard to talk about the Holocaust with children, because it is so completely horrible and unthinkable. But there are ways to share the story without the graphic details. It is actually really important that children learn exactly how terrible the consequences of unchecked hatred, anti-Semitism, racism can be.  Hidden manages to introduce the subject matter in a very soft, age appropriate way.  It leaves much unsaid, allowing parents and teachers to offer as much information as they feel the reader can handle if follow up questions are asked.

Hidden a heartbreaking story presented in a sweet manner.  I am grateful that authors like Loic Dauvillier are able to handle such difficult subject matter so gracefully and deftly.  It makes things so much easier for the rest of us as we try to explain the unexplainable.

Age Recommendation: Grades 3-6.  I would say that Grade 3 readers should probably be reading it with some type of adult supervision and interaction, just so that they can talk through any upsetting parts.  By Grade 6, most students will be okay with this independently.

Sex, Nudity, Dating – Dounia says she and her friend were crazy about a handsome boy.  A boy is forced to pull down his pants in front of his class.  He teacher tells the class that “Jews had a piece of wee-wee missing.”  Adults are shown kissing.
Profanity – None.
Death, Violence and Gore – Armed men are shown wearing guns.  Men are shown striking someone. A man hits a woman across the face.  A woman is shown skinning a rabbit. Father dies in the camps.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – None.
Frightening or Intense Things – A child can tell that adults are upset. Dounia’s apartment is searched.  Her parents hide her away.  Her mother is saying “I love you” so much that it scares her.   A woman alerts the police that a girl has been found.  A man is missing possibly captured by police.  A picture shows a camp survivor.  It is not particularly scary, he is shown to be weak and ill however.

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