cover image Courage to Dream: Tales of Hope in the Holocaust

Courage to Dream: Tales of Hope in the Holocaust

Neal Shusterman, illus. by Andrés Vera Martínez. Graphix, $24.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-545-31347-6; $14.99 paper ISBN 978-0-5453-1348-3

Shusterman (I Am the Walrus) and Martinez (Little White Duck) deploy a mixture of fantasy and history to reimagine elements of the Holocaust in this uneven graphic novel. Throughout five interconnected stories, some of which are inspired by actual events, the creators showcase a spectrum of landscapes and situations. Narratives include an interpretation of the golem’s origins set in Auschwitz, and a story set in a contemporary American home where a conch shell seems to be a portal to an alternate world in which the Holocaust never happened. One entry, “Spirits of Resistance,” is set in the Belarusian woods and stars folktale witch Baba Yaga, who summons her minions—including the great bird Ziz as well as Izbushka, a hut on towering chicken legs—to help a band of Jewish resisters. This standout chapter bursts with fierce energy, and foregrounds the characters’ agency in overcoming an apparent hopeless situation. Other entries feature visual drama and effective tension-building, portrayed in a comics style reminiscent of the 1950s and teeming with fantastical elements, as when a trio of siblings manage to evade capture by Nazis when the world outside their hiding place morphs into an interstellar landscape. Ages 12–up. Author’s agent: Andrea Brown, Andrea Brown Literary. (Oct.)

Correction: The text of this review has been updated for clarity.