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Author: Macdonald, Maryann
When Odette's father becomes a Nazi prisoner-of-war and the Paris police begin arresting Jews, her mother sends Odette to hide in the Catholic French countryside where she must keep many secrets to survive.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.10
Points: 4.0 Quiz: 163022
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 3.30
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 61119
Common Core Standards
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Range of Reading & LEvel of Text Complexity
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Craft & Structure
School Library Journal (04/01/13)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (04/13)
The Hornbook (00/03/13)
Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 04/01/2013 In this free-verse novel, Macdonald imagines the thoughts of Odette Meyers, a real girl who survived the Holocaust by leaving her home in Paris when she was eight and posing as a Catholic in the French countryside. Beginning in Paris, the story is full of little-girl insights and perspectives on the rapid changes taking place in Odette’s neighborhood as hatred of the Jews invades Paris along with the Nazis. Her father joins the army and is quickly taken prisoner, while her mother begins work with the Resistance. Their landlord, Odette’s beloved godmother, hides Odette and her mother when soldiers come to take them away, and eight-year-old Odette is sent into the countryside. There she grows to love not only country life but also Catholicism. In fact, she is almost disappointed when her mother comes to join her, and Odette must hide her affection for the teachings and traditions of the church and its loving, protecting God and his saints. Their return to Paris entails a question for Odette: is she still Jewish, and does she want to be? Macdonald harvests the mundane and everyday for her poetic imagery and imbues these things with the significance of history, identity, and healing for Odette, effectively maintaining a believably childlike perspective throughout. She also subtly forecasts Odette’s adult life as a poet and professor active in the survivor community by showcasing incidents that highlight Odette’s compassion and her sensitivity to the healing effects of poetry. Include this book in the Holocaust curriculum, and young readers will be able to readily identify with Odette’s concerns and fears as they come to understand the larger contexts. An author’s note, timeline, and pictures of Odette and others who featured in the book are included. KC - Copyright 2013 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 04/01/2013 Gr 5–8—This story opens as World War II is beginning and the persecution of Jews in France is escalating. After Paris falls to the Nazis, Odette is rushed to the countryside, where she hides in plain sight by living with a family and pretending to be Christian. There she struggles with her identity. The strength of the novel lies in MacDonald's meticulous research, which is explained in an author's note, of the real Odette Meyers, whose photos are included. The author weaves in facts about Odette's life and the events taking place at the time with imagined scenarios in which Odette may have found herself. However, the author's free-verse prose style makes readers acutely aware that an adult is trying to write from a child's perspective, and it sounds not so much poetic as fragmentary and unorganized. This book is a good introduction for children interested in how the war and the Holocaust affected the everyday lives of kids their age, but in a field with so many classics and reinterpretations of similar stories, such as Judith Kerr's When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit (Collins, 1971), Lois Lowry's Number the Stars (Houghton, 1989), Jennifer Roy's Yellow Star (Marshall Cavendish, 2006), and Sandi Toksvig's Hitler's Canary (Roaring Brook, 2007), it's an additional purchase.—Anne Barreca, New York Public Library - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 04/15/2013 Set in France during WWII, Odette’s Secrets is a novelization, in verse, of the life of Odette Meyers, whose autobiography, Doors to Madame Marie (1997) was an inspiration for this book. When life in Paris becomes too dangerous for Jews, including Odette, the young girl is sent to the countryside, where she must disguise herself as a French peasant and Christian, keeping her true identity a closely guarded secret. After many months, Odette’s mother, who has worked with the French Resistance, joins her and, like Odette, must lose her own Jewish identity. Two and one-half years later, Paris is liberated, and Odette and her mother return to the city, but can Odette resume her true identity as a Jew or has her assumed Christianity become too much a part of her being? Though sometimes lacking in drama, this quiet story will nevertheless offer readers new insights into considerations of being a Jew during WWII and the complex ways that we define our identity. - Copyright 2013 Booklist.