Hidden: A Child's Story of the Holocaust

by Loïc Dauvillier

Other authorsGreg Salsedo (Inker), Marc Lizano (Illustrator)
Book, 2014



Call number

J 736 DAU



First Second (2014), Edition: Illustrated, 80 pages


"A grandmother shares the story of her experiences in WWII with her grandchild in this graphic novel for young readers"--

User reviews

LibraryThing member What_Katie_Read
A lovely graphic novel of a child's experience of being hidden during the Holocaust. Originally published in French--review to follow on the blog!
LibraryThing member samaside
Title: Hidden
Author: Loic Dauvillier and Greg Salsedo
Illustrator: Alexis Siegel
Release Date: April 1, 2014 (Originally 2012)
Publisher: First Second (originally Le Lombard)
Source: NetGalley
Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Children’s Fiction, Graphic Novel, Holocaust

Review Spoilers: Low

I love when
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comic books are used to tell a story that you probably wouldn’t expect from the medium. Recently I reviewed March by Congressman John Lewis which begins the chronicle of his experiences as a young civil rights leader. In that review I mentioned that when I grew up one of the first graphic novels I ever read was Maus. For me, Maus set the standard for comics for a long time. A lot of people still question graphic novels as a form of literature but I never have. And books like March and Hidden just continue to validate my faith in the medium.

Hidden is a book written, I think, for a much younger audience and unlike a lot of books or stories about the Holocaust it has a happier general feeling to it which I actually appreciated. It’s the kind of book that – unlike Maus – I could see using in a classroom for elementary or middle school students.

The book follows a young French girl whose family is Jewish as antisemitism and Nazi influence begins to spread through occupied France. Because she’s young her family does their best to sort of shield her from the way things are. They can’t really explain why people – including her teachers – have started to hate her or why her closest friend and his family have left the country. Her father even pretends that the yellow Star of David they have to wear is a Sheriff’s badge and not something to identify them. But the charades can only last so long and suddenly her parents are taken away by the police and she finds her self being passed along into the care of numerous people who are risking their lives to help her.

It’s a very powerful story and it’s being told by the girl when she is much older to her granddaughter one night when both of the can’t sleep. It bounces back and forth as the older woman now tries to explain everything to the younger generation without getting too serious or sad. I thought it was a great dynamic and that it added a lot to the story to have multiple generations involved.

This was pretty much a perfect little graphic novel and I really enjoyed it. I cried a few times – especially towards the end. Definitely one of my favorite read recently.

Final Thoughts:
A fantastic Holocaust story for younger readers that touches readers of all ages. You’ll be moved by the story but not bogged down too much by the heaviness of the topic. There is a lot more hope and love in this book than anything else and it helps to explain a very terrible time in history to younger children in a way that they can appreciate and understand. I absolutely loved this book and recommend it to anyone looking for a good historical fiction read for the young people in their lives.
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LibraryThing member steadfastreader
Great resource to open doors to talk to your children about the historical significance of the Holocaust and the importance of standing up against injustice in our own lives. I think this book has the potential to start some great conversations on why neither bullying nor pretending not to notice
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bullying are okay.
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LibraryThing member zzshupinga
One dark night young Elsa wakes and wanders down the hallway to find her grandmother, Dounia, awake and crying. Douina begins to tell Elsa the story of why she is crying, a story that she has not shared with anyone else in a very long time. It is 1942 and Elsa is a young Jewish girl in Paris,
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enjoying life and friends and being with her family. When everything changes. She has to wear a star on all of her clothes and she and her family are constantly afraid of the German soldiers in town. The Nazis have come. And one dark night Douina’s parents hide her as the soldiers have come for her and her parents are taken to the camps. It is the night that Douina learns of a powerful hatred that exists and of the hope and compassion of strangers to help fight it off. It is the night that Douina’s life change for ever.

This story…this story is unlike anything else that you’ve ever read before. And I know many people are going, “But we’ve read so many survival stories. And yes they’re moving but another one?” And to that I say, this one is different. This one is told from a child’s perspective. Not only that it’s told from the perspective of a child that was able to be hidden away from the concentration camps, but still suffered from so much of the hate that is in our world. But touched by hope and compassion of strangers as well. This is one of those stories that is appropriate for all ages, as a way to help explain hatred that still persists today, so that we may learn one day how to overcome it. It is a story that will help explain why parts of a family suddenly vanished forever and why many made moves to new countries. It is a story that has the ability to change lives.

The Holocaust is one of those events that none of us ever like talking about, but one that we all need to understand. And we’re often faced with the question of how do we tell young people about it? How do we explain the hatred of someone because they weren’t the right religion? And the answer is, read this book with them. Dounia is our guide in this book and she helps her young granddaughter understand that while there was hatred, and mistrust in the world, that there were good people willing to risk everything to help a stranger. People that were willing to die to keep others safe. And while it is heartbreaking, it is encouraging as well to see the good mixed in with the bad.

I find it difficult to describe the artwork in this story, because it is so like and unlike anything that I have seen before. The illustrations have a sketchy type quality to them that hints at a bustling energy and life, similar to what we see in the Peanuts comic strip. All of the characters also have oversize heads on smaller bodies, again similar to early Peanuts. And yet…and yet we get a real sense of the age of each character, the lines on their faces, the way the shift their bodies and move, and more importantly we can see their essence bared for the world to see. In just a few short lines we know who the good and bad people are, that can either give us pain or hope. The artist chose a more subdued color palette (and rightly so) to go with this story, with darker blues, greens, and browns where the world almost feels washed out to capture the sadness of the tale that we’re hearing.

This is a story that you’ll want to read with a box of tissues next to you. And it’s one that you’ll want to pass on to others to read as well. It’s meant to be shared, so that we remember a horrific time in our world, and the bravery of the young and old that survived it. Before I wrap up, I’m going to share a quote. One that is not from the story, but fits the bravery of what we see. It is a quote from a an Austrian sergeant, who was conscripted into the German army during World War II. This sergeant, this man, went out of his way to save Jewish people, the people he was charged with killing. His name was Anton Schmid. For his efforts the Nazis killed him. But he left parting words that resonate with me and capture some of the characters that we see in this story:

“I only acted as a human being and desired doing harm to no one. Everybody must die some day. One can die as an executioner or as a helper. I want to die as a helper.”

I give the book 5 out of 5 stars and it will be one of my top books to recommend for the upcoming year.

ARC provided by Gina at FirstSecond
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LibraryThing member jwesley
Hidden is a wonderful and poetic comic strip about a grandmother's tale during the invasion of the Nazis in Paris. As a young Jewish girl, Dounia was hidden away from the Nazis by her neighbors after her parents were taken away to concentration camps. The story ends with Dounia reconnecting with
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her mother and becoming closer with her granddaughter and son. This is a great book to read to students after reading about the Holocaust or people from the Holocaust, such as Hana Brady.
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LibraryThing member bcelaya
This graphic novel is about a grandmother finally revealing her childhood secrets to her granddaughter. She finally shared what it was like to live in Paris in 1943. She lived during the Holocaust and lived in constant fear.
LibraryThing member molbhall
This book is based on the experiences of Dounia Cohen, a French Jewish girl who had to escape Paris during World War II and take on a new identity in order to survive. The story is framed as a late-night conversation between Dounia and her granddaughter. Readers will be able to empathize with
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Dounia because of the first person narrative. It touches on the atrocities of the Holocaust without being graphic, making it suitable for a middle grade audience.
The illustration style used is very appealing. The images sell the emotions of the story that the text is telling, especially in the sketchy, childlike style that emphasizes the characters’ faces. The small number of panels per page makes the story easy to follow and also makes it feel more intimate and personal.
The afterword states that the story is based on actual events and includes a few facts about Jewish children in France during the time, but it would be more helpful if it included where the author learned about Dounia so that the story could be verified. This book would be a good starting point for looking at more personal accounts of the Holocaust.
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LibraryThing member Sullywriter
Dounia tells her granddaughter the story of how, as a young Jewish girl in Paris, she was hidden away from the Nazis by a neighbors and friends who risked their lives to keep her alive when her parents had been taken to concentration camps. Unique and touching.
LibraryThing member kivarson
Probably should not have started reading this at the Children's desk at work, as this graphic novel moved me to tears. Late in the evening, Dounia tells her granddaughter the story of her childhood during the Holocaust; ostracized by classmates and teachers once the Star of David is sewn onto her
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clothing, Dounia's parents were ripped away from her while she was carefully hidden in a secret compartment of a wardrobe. It is only the bravery of the downstairs neighbors and the good people of the French Resistance that keeps her from falling prey to the Nazis. I'm still weepy writing this.
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LibraryThing member Tracie_Shepherd
This graphic novel touched my heart. I haven't been a fan of graphic novels but this story was well told in words and illustrations. There were many panels without words but clearly depicted was was happening - the emotions especially. I would use this for a unit on the Holocaust. It would be
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effective for reluctant readers and most likely encourage them to try other Holocaust books. The illustrations were childlike but well done. A good introduction to the Holocaust for younger students.
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LibraryThing member WhitneyYPL
This graphic novel explains the story of a grandmother telling her grand-daughter of her experiences as a young Jewish girl in Paris. The grandmother had not even spoken to her son of these experiences she endured as a child being hidden from the Nazis. Very well done. Well worth the read. Done in
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a poetic fashion, and it works very well. ER
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LibraryThing member TammyBB
A grandmother tells her granddaughter her memory of slowly discovering the prejudice against her for being Jewish; and then the impending doom of her parents' arrest and her protection by neighbors. The pictures and dialogue switch back and forth between present day and WWII times. It is a
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tear-jerking story of hope and goodbyes, and courage to share heartbreaking stories of the past.
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LibraryThing member Jadedog13
Like every grandmother, Dounia was once a little girl herself.

Tonight, she's finally ready to tell her granddaughter a secret about her childhood -- something she never even told her son.

Tonight, Dounia is ready to share her memories of Paris in 1942. Memories of wearing a Star of David, of living
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in fear, of the kindness of strangers.

Memories of being hidden.

-- from the book jacket

In this graphic novel, a grandmother tells her granddaughter about her experience during the holocaust. Dounia (the grandmother) was kept hidden from the Germans by various people who kept her safe. Dounia's parents were taken and she was alone, but the people who helped her did their best to make her feel secure. Dounia expresses her fear, sadness, anger and hope through the words and the images.

Because this is a graphic novel, the images are very important to the story. And the images are beautiful. The expressions on the characters faces convey strong feelings, even when there are no words. And in the end, when Dounia sees someone who survived one of the camps, the image captures what survivors looked like and we can completely understand when Dounia says she doesn't even recognize the person.

A great story with beautiful pictures that may make it easier to convey to kids what it felt like to be a jewish child during this time.

Recommended to:
Good for parents who want to help their kids understand this time in history. And for 4th through 8th graders to read on their own.
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LibraryThing member michelleannlib
This is just beautiful. Excellent.
LibraryThing member krau0098
My 10 year old son picked this graphic novel up at the library and wanted me to read it so we could discuss. This is a very well done recounting of the Holocaust from a child’s POV. I was impressed with how well the feel of the era was portrayed while keeping things at a level that children will
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As a parent some of the scenes in this were especially touching. Watching as Dounia’s parents tried to make wearing the Star of David a “fun” thing for their daughter and make her feel special even as the world around them was descending into violence. It was sad how even all their efforts couldn’t protect them from the atrocities of that time.

Parts of this book are very sad, but in the end the tone ends up being hopeful. My son really liked it because he said he felt like he understood a lot better how things went then. He mentioned he had never read an account of the Holocaust from a Jewish kid’s point of view and this really brought home to him how scary and awful the Holocaust was.

My son has actually read through this a few more times, he told me he is trying to understand why people would do the types of things that happened in the Holocaust. This book is a great discussion point of an era in history that needs to be discussed with kids so that nothing like that ever happens again. It’s presented in a way that is approachable.

Additionally the graphic novel itself is well put together. The illustrations are well done and the story is easy to follow. The characters are engaging and easy to relate to.

Overall I would highly recommend this graphic novel. It is a very well done accounting of the Holocaust from a Jewish child’s point of view. This is something every parent should talk to their children about and this is a great way to do that. Just be prepared for lots of questions and remember parts of it are sad.
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LibraryThing member abergsman
A gem of a book. My Jewish daughter is starting to explore the history of WWII and the Holocaust. This was an excellent, gentle, book on that subject. It presents an excellent opportunity to open up a dialogue on how a society can open itself up to ignorance and fear, and the importance of standing
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up against wrongful actions.
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LibraryThing member christina.h
This is the sort of book that belongs on bookshelves in public libraries and schools everywhere. I'd imagine it to be perfect for introducing third through fifth graders to this point in history, and is an equally reliable tool for parents and teachers, alike.

Just under 80 pages, this is a quick
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read. Written in first person, it's a young Jewish girl's recollection of her experiences being hidden away during the Holocaust. The story is basic, but heartfelt and impacting.

The illustrations are sweet. Due to subject matter, often bittersweet. There is little to nothing in the way of gore or vivid details of what happens when a Jewish person goes away during the Holocaust, but there is no loss of terror or confusion at what is happening, or the blatant fact that something just isn't right.

Adult readers will be able to pick up on the painful sense of nuance throughout the book that will most likely go over very young readers' heads, and I think that is an aspect that can make this book timeless. A child can pick it up in elementary school and understand the message, and if they revisit it in high school or as an adult, should be able to identify so much more than they did the first time around.
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LibraryThing member elenchus
Reminiscent of Maus and the story of Anne Frank, even Life Is Beautiful, hidden is a simpler tale in the telling and while less graphic in its depiction of violence and physical trauma, not sugarcoated or whitewashed.

Another title picked up from Sulzer for W, unread and unfamiliar but enticing book
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jacket. Read through this one before offering it to W, and thought it mature for him, but passed on to R. When W picked it up on his own once she was done, I cautioned it was perhaps not for him, only for both he & R to question me. I relented.

W had to go to bed before finishing, uncertain if he returned to it afterward.
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LibraryThing member jennybeast
I think this story is very well done, presenting a young girls' perspective on the holocaust. However, it is somewhat confusing because she never talks about the greater context of the war at all, or the ending of it -- in that sense it is brilliantly true to a child's point of view, but it can be
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disorienting for older readers.
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LibraryThing member lissabeth21
I'm thrilled to have found this. I'm definitely going to share this with my sons when they are old enough.


Original language


Original publication date

2014-04-01 [English]

Physical description

80 p.; 9.3 inches


1596438738 / 9781596438736
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