A Guy, a Girl, and a Teen Book Blog

A Guy, a Girl, and a Teen Book Blog

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Odette's Secrets by Maryann Macdonald

Title: Odette's Secrets
Author: Maryann Macdonald
Pages: 240
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Publication Date: February 26, 2013
AR Levels: TBD
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12969636-odette-s-secrets?ac=1

In a nutshell: Odette is a young French girl of Jewish decent who lives in Paris during World War II. After her father joins the French army and the persecution of the Jews worsens in Paris, Odette's mother sends her to live in the French countryside to pose as a Christian in order to protect her. This verse novel fictionalizes the true story of Odette Meyer, one of many of France's hidden Jewish children.

I'd recommend it to grades: 4 to 7

I'd recommend it to: poetry lovers, historical fiction fans, and students who aren't quite ready for Anne Frank's diary (or as a complement to her diary)

What I liked most about this book: The language is beautiful yet age-appropriate/childlike, and the breadth of emotion is both realistic and stunning for such a young girl. Many of the adults in Odette's life stand as excellent role models for her and for readers, especially her neighbor/godmother, Madame Marie, who as a Christian helps protect Odette and her mother. It's a thought-provoking and emotionally powerful read that's also a quick read due to its verse novel format, so even struggling readers could enjoy it. 

Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): It saddened me to find out that Jews were banned from many public places including libraries in Paris during that time, but Odette and her cousins find a loophole and end up spending an afternoon in the library trying to retain some normalcy in the midst of the chaos around them, illustrating how books can be tools of peace and joy even on the darkest days. Books, stories, and poetry all play key roles in Odette's readjustment to her new life.

Star rating (where 5 stars is awesome and 0 stars is atrocious): 4 stars 

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