Seeking Refuge

Irene N. Watts, illus. by Kathryn E. Shoemaker. Tradewind (Orca, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-926890-02-9
Shoemaker’s quiet, silvery-penciled panels soften this Holocaust narrative, a companion to Good-bye Marianne (2008). Eleven-year-old Marianne Kohn arrives in Great Britain with the Kindertransport, a rescue that shipped Jewish children out of Germany before the outbreak of WWII. Memories and nightmares of escalating hate under the Third Reich persist as she makes her way in a country that isn’t entirely happy to have her. Her first foster mother, counting on free domestic help, cares only for appearances: “You have shamed me in front of everyone,” she tells Marianne after the girl buys a pair of used shoes. Evacuated to rural Wales after the war begins (Shoemaker’s maps help readers track the shifting locales), Marianne encounters outright bigotry (“Christ killer!” “Dirty spy!”), then stays with a couple whose own daughter has died, and who attempt, creepily, to remake Marianne into her image. Yet throughout, Marianne finds allies who guard, help, and advocate for her, and she is herself resourceful and brave. Miraculously, Marianne and her mother are reunited in the end. Though Holocaust stories are by definition horrifying, this one offers some hope. Ages 8–11. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/16/2017
Release date: 10/01/2016
Genre: Children's
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