As I’ve mentioned before, I went through a period of reading a lot of books about the Holocaust as a kid. As an adult, I’ve spent more time learning about other periods of mass atrocities, including ones where my country was not on the good side.
But recently I’ve read a few books (for kids and adults) that brought Holocaust/WWII history back to my radar with new perspectives and stories. Among them were “The Book Thief,” a YA novel which you’ve probably already heard is amazing, and “The Whispering Town,” a picture book written by Jennifer Elvgren and illustrated by Fabio Santomauro.
“The Whispering Town” was released last December by Kar-Ben Publishing. Here’s what I wrote about in on GoodReads:
Through Anett’s eyes, children get a glimpse into one of the creative ways brave families (in this case in Denmark) helped Jews escape the terror of the Holocaust. Difficult subject tackled in a developmentally appropriate way in this picture book. Best read with an adult who can give context or as part of a school unit on this period of history.
As I looked for more information on the book and also the town it involves, I came across a more detailed review at The Children’s War blog. I agree with blogger Alex’s comment, “Jennifer Elvgren’s simple depiction of this dangerous, yet heroic rescue makes this story all the more poignant. There is no sentimentality, but this gentle story shows ordinary people just doing what needs to be done to keep other people safe from Nazi hands.”
Alex also notes that Gilleleje, the Danish fishing village depicted in “The Whispering Town,” is also part of “Number the Stars” by Lois Lowry. I’m pretty sure I read that as a kid but I don’t recall the story at all, so I’ll have to re-read it soon. And if I’m in the mood for any more books like this, I’ll be sure to return to The Children’s War blog, where Alex has written an extensive collection of reviews on children’s books covering all aspects of WWII, ranging from the Dutch resistance to a Chinese American girl’s participation in the war effort in San Francisco.
Book trailer for “The Whispering Town”