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A Family Secret
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About the Author

ERIC HEUVEL is one of the top graphic artists in the Netherlands. He concentrates on writing and illustrating educational graphic novels--three of which, including A Family Secret and The Search, have won the Dutch Comics Association's category award. He lives in Zaandam.

Reviews

"Secrets are revealed right up to the present, and in all their complexity, they stay with readers forever. . . . this is a must for the Holocaust curriculum." --Booklist, starred review

Gr 5 Up-These intertwined graphic novels tell the stories of two girls coming of age in Europe during World War II. A Family Secret follows the story of Helena, who survived the war primarily due to her father's decision to collaborate with the Nazis. She recounts her life and those of others, including citizens stranded in the Dutch East Indies at the time. The Search begins in our current era, with Esther arriving in the Netherlands from the U.S. for her grandson's Bar Mitzvah. While there, she catches up with Helena, whom she befriended at age 12 after fleeing Hitler's Germany for the Netherlands. Through flashbacks, Esther and Helena tell their grandsons about the danger-filled era of their youth. Before she returns to the U.S., Esther learns the final fate of her family and receives a priceless memento that Helena has kept for her. The Search, in particular, would pair well with Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl. Heuvel crafts his artwork in the European ligne claire style, making the books highly reminiscent of Herge's work in "Tintin." North American audiences may find the cartoon style somewhat at odds with the often tragic nature of the narratives, but those who try it out will find the books interesting and educational.-Douglas P. Davey, Halton Hills Public Library, Ontario, Canada Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

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