Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust Review

GameStop, Inc.

Written By Loic Dauvillier
Art By Greg Salsedo & Marc Lizano
First Second
ISBN: 978-1596438736

Cvr HiddenThere are dramatic tellings of the Holocaust meant to educate and stress the genocide, then there are simpler stories like Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust that minimize the brutality, but nonetheless serve the same purpose. Most people are aware of how children were affected by the Holocaust through The Diary of Anne Frank. Hidden adopts the same perspective, except with a younger child and through a graphic novel. Dounia tells her granddaughter about growing up in Nazi occupied Paris. As a Jewish girl, Dounia was forced to wear the Star of David and segregated from the other children.   Thanks to a series of kind people, Dounia was hidden while her parents were sent to concentration camps. Dounia was brave while in hiding, but she was still fearful. Her story ends happily with a better relationship from her family.

It’s hard to explain the Holocaust to kids without breaking their sense of righteousness. Hidden succeeds in teaching about the Holocaust without adding too many horrific details, while still retaining the urgency and fear Dounia and other children felt while hiding. The graphic novel is told from Dounia’s perspective as a child. Loic Douviller captures a child’s innocent obliviousness to a monumental time in history. Kids are aware that something is going on, but they can’t fully grasp it. A kid reading Hidden would realize bad events happened, but can accept it and understand the meaning of Dounia’s story without knowing all the details.

Marc Lizano’s art is very kid friendly with a cartoonish, Sunday funny style. Just by glimpsing his art, one can tell it’s target audience, but the fun going style masks the story’s deeper message. One wouldn’t think Lizano would be able to depict a Holocaust survivor in his style, but he succeeds without downplaying the grizzly appearance.

While it is never easy to teach World War II, Hidden is a gentle way to introduce the subject to kids on their level without the dumbing down the content.

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