Seeking Refuge

by Irene N. Watts and Kathryn Shoemaker

Eleven-year-old Marianne Kohn is one of the first Jewish children on a Kindertransport... read more

Eleven-year-old Marianne Kohn is one of the first Jewish children on a Kindertransport out of Nazi Germany in 1939. A last-minute substitute, no one in London is expecting Marianne, who is younger than the girl she replaced. She ends up with a wealthy woman who takes her out of a sense of obligation but offers no warmth or understanding. Marianne is the subject of cold comments or ignored. But Marianne makes a good friend at school, and writes letters home, holding out hope her parents will be able to join her in England. When Marianne is evacuated to the country with other children in London during the Blitz she is separated from her friend and again finds herself at the mercy of strangers. Her placement with a couple in Wales makes her uncomfortable because of too much attention—her hosts see her as a replacement for their dead daughter, while anti-Semitic comments she’s heard since arriving in England continue. The white-framed, gray-toned pencil drawings of this graphic novel are a perfect match for the emotional tone of a story that balances dark and light. Marianne’s feelings of helplessness are matched by her resilience, while there are kind people, too, some of whom help make good things happen in the end. (Ages 9-11)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2018

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