The Search and A Family Secret Graphic Novels
A Family Secret provides a graphic novel overview of WWII from a "safe" Dutch girl’s perspective as she relates the tale of her Jewish friend who suffered through the terror of the Holocaust. Characters in the book represent a wide diversity in respect to decency – from the innocent, to the heroic resistance fighters; from the passive bystanders, to the brutal Nazis. Firmly rooted in history and delivering accurate facts along an accurate timeline, A Family Secret does a remarkable job of communicating some of the most perplexing and disturbing events in Dutch history. The story and characters from A Family Secret are intertwined and expanded upon in The Search.
In this graphic novel about the Holocaust, a Jewish grandmother recounts to her grandson how she escaped from the Nazis and survived. With her grandson’s help she plunges into a search to discover what happened to the rest of her family during their last months at Auschwitz. The Search is a compilation of many stories of Jewish families who experienced the horror of the Holocaust. While the illustrations are not explicit, the narration is fairly specific as to the horrors the characters experience.
Please note, there is an instance of language on page 25 of The Search. While it will not be new to many middle-school students, parents with young readers may want to hit it with a touch of white-out.
Experienced parents know that the amount of reading their child does will have a direct and positive impact on his reading fluency and vocabulary development. That is why graphic novels - which we used to refer to as comic books - though once relegated to the category of lowbrow reading, are now experiencing a surge in popularity.
You may think that the comic book medium is primarily for mainstream American children who are peppered by snack-size visual and audio bombardment. If you desire that your children slow down and feast on the written word, then you may cringe at the idea of a graphic novel version of Moby Dick. But before you issue a home-wide ban on these books, consider the following.
If you have a reluctant or beginning reader, your first concern should be for fluidity and competency. You will find that the graphic novel's illustrations draw your child in even as the vocabulary becomes more complex. Then, because the graphics are so attention-grabbing, children often find themselves reading for pleasure.
If your reluctant reader is an older child, your main concern may be making sure that he is culturally savvy. With graphic novels, vocabulary is introduced via contextual clues, making great literature accessible to more children. The interesting pictures and snappy dialogue, with little-to-no narration to bog the reader down, will encourage independent reading and learning. As the child's competence and confidence grow, so will his joy of literacy.
Even if your older child is a competent reader, he will enjoy taking a break from the verbally intense books characteristic of higher-level learning to enjoy a more visual form of storytelling. A 2006 study found that the amount of reading children did for fun decreased from the time they were eight through the teen years. Graphic books can re-engage them in the delights of reading for leisure as well as for learning.
There are children who may never read for pleasure; God just might have wired them differently. But most children, from the reluctant, faltering reader to the brilliant but easily bored adolescent, will find graphic novels intriguing.
Publisher: Square Fish
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux BYR Paper
My son LOOOOOOOVED these books! He actually finished them up way before he was supposed to, because he couldn't stop reading them.
These are great supplemental reading books.
These books are wonderful! My son is an avid history fan, especially of this time period. He really enjoys reading them and always has lots of questions.
We are readers in our family... we read and listen to audio books constantly. And yet, when it comes to the very difficult topics, especially WWII, it is challenging to find appropriate material for children. They NEED to know what happened, to mourn for the huge losses, but the book cannot be so overwhelming that the kids refuse to read it. This series (two books) bridges that gap well and gives an accurate picture of what happened to many Jewish families during the War. A great way to lead into further discussion and more advanced literature in the future.