Hidden Hope: How a Toy and a Hero Saved Lives During the Holocaust

Abrams. Mar. 2023. 48p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781419750007.
Gr 4-6–It’s World War II, and the Nazis have crossed into France to round up Jewish people. With most Jews fearing the threat of concentration camps and death, a few brave people have stepped up and joined a secret society called the French Resistance. The goal of the resistance was to create documents with fake names, birth dates, families, and religious affiliations. Smuggling those papers became a full-time job for one young girl named Jacqueline Gauthier, a French Christian who kept her Jewish identity secret (her real name was Judith Geller). Her tenacity at smuggling these papers from place to place was impressive to the Jewish people. She accomplished it all on her bike, through the use of a wooden toy duck with a hollowed-out center. Despite nearly being caught many times, Gauthier persisted. Many Jews pondered what her motivation was in helping them; if they only knew her secrets, they would understand. Accompanying the almost poetic text, where truncated sentences add immediacy, are moody, atmospheric full-page watercolor, pencil, and gouache illustrations, softly done in teal, browns, and orange, that well portray the terror of living during this era. Gauthier and all characters are white.
VERDICT An important true account to add to all collections. Gauthier’s inspiring story will spur on anyone who doubts just how much difference one young person can truly make.

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