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|White bird : a wonder story|
Author: Palacio, R. J.
Classroom bully Julian learns about how his grandmother, as a young Jewish girl, survived the Nazis in occupied France during World War II. In graphic novel format.
Kirkus Reviews (+) (07/15/19)
School Library Journal (09/01/19)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 09/01/2019 Gr 4–6—This graphic novel expands on Grandmère's childhood story, which was referenced in The Julian Chapter, a companion to Palacio's Wonder. Grandmère tells Julian about her childhood in France. She describes how her comfortable, happy life changed in the summer of 1940, when the Germans occupied part of France. Though Grandmère, or Sara, and her family lived in the free zone, she tells Julian, "Nothing was really normal anymore. Not if you were Jewish, like us." As the war progresses, it becomes more real to Sara, but she doesn't understand the danger until the day that the Nazi soldiers arrive at Sara's school to take the Jewish children. Sara hides to escape capture but doesn't know what to do next until she is rescued by a classmate who leads her to safety. The boy, Julien, though she knows him by the cruel nickname Torteau (French for "crab"), uses crutches to walk because his legs were affected by polio. The two become friends, and their relationship even turns romantic as the years pass while Sara is in hiding, but Julien's character doesn't become more than a tragic hero. Moments set in the present featuring Julian and Grandmère frame the tale and draw parallels to family separation at the U.S. border, offering a powerful conclusion. An author's note discusses Palacio's connection to the story, and back matter provides further information about the war, the period, and more. VERDICT Sure to be popular among fans of Wonder and educators who want to connect past to present.—Mindy Rhiger, Hennepin County Library, MN - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 10/15/2019 Palacio adds another layer to the Wonder universe with this graphic novel debut. Julian calls his grandmother, Sara, to interview her for a class project. What follows is a story of resistance, bravery, and survival, beginning in unoccupied France, during Hitler’s rise. While her non-observant, affluent Jewish family is safe for some time, it isn’t long before Sara’s mother disappears and Jewish students are taken from the school. She escapes the roundup by hiding in the school and is discovered by Julian, an ostracized classmate badly disabled by a childhood bout of polio. Julian hides Sara in a barn near his house, where his family keeps her safe until the end of the war. It is this friend whom her grandson Julian is named for. This compelling story is served well by the graphic novel format; muted background colors and an emphasis on facial expressions center the emotional intensity of the story. The author effectively ties atrocities of WWII to current political issues, ending with a declaration of “Never Again.” Supplemental information includes a glossary, photographs, and further reading suggestions. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.