cover image Star of Fear, Star of Hope

Star of Fear, Star of Hope

Jo Hoestlandt. Walker & Company, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8027-8373-8

Suffused with bittersweet regret, this sensitive picture book from France begins with the reminiscences of an old woman. The narrator, Helen, describes being eight years old-when it's 1942, in Nazi-occupied France. Her best friend, Lydia, has been forced to wear a Star of David on her jacket. The night of Helen's ninth birthday, Lydia sleeps over. While Helen's parents are at work, strangers tap on a neighbor's door, calling out strange passwords and looking for shelter. The Nazis are arresting Jews. Lydia asks to go home to her family, which infuriates Helen-it's her birthday, after all. Her last words to Lydia are ""You're not my friend anymore!"" She never sees Lydia again but, in all the intervening years, sustains hope (``with all my heart'') that Lydia has survived. In a powerful marriage of art and text, the simple, spare lines and muted tones of Kang's illustrations quietly support the poignant story. Fluidly written and centered in events a child can comprehend, the book is an ideal starting point for serious discussion about the Holocaust. Ages 7-10. (May)