Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Non-Fiction
The Hiding Game

The Hiding Game

Spring 2017 Non-Fiction
Ages: 7 - 12 yrs.
Author: Gwen Strauss
Illustrator: Herb Leonhard
ISBN: 9781455622658
Hardcover Price: $17.99

Art and survival make for a riveting mix in this real-life, age-appropriate World War II-Era story for older children about an unusual way station for individuals and families fleeing the Nazis in occupied France. Based on the heroic rescue efforts of Varian Fry ("The American Schindler") and author Gwen Strauss' great-uncle, Danny Bénédite, the story is told from the point of view of one of those actually rescued: a young girl named Aubré. While awaiting a chance to leave the country, Aubré and her parents are brought by Bénédite to the safety of the Villa Bel-Air, an "enchanted place" outside of Marseilles. "The hiding game" was a daily part of Aubré's life (a radio must be concealed and Aubré knew where to hide when German soldiers came) and there are harrowing details: a deadly serious "red light, green light" escape procedure, near discoveries, and arrests. But, there are happy times, too, in the household's determination to "fight against fear" by playing games, making art and music, and appreciating nature. (Among the artists who came and went were Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp, and Aubré's own father, the poet André Breton.) This fascinating family story, complemented by Herb Leonhard's graceful illustrations, ends with a history that includes photographs of Bénédite, Aubré, and Fry; as well as a deeper look through page-corresponding notes; a list of resources, and more. In 1967, Fry and Bénédite's efforts were belatedly recognized when the two men were awarded France's prestigious Legion of Honor, and the work that artists made at the Villa Bel-Air survives to this day.

Lynne Heffley   ©2017 Parents' Choice
A freelance writer and editor for the arts and non-profit organizations, Lynne is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she established the paper's first weekly children's arts and entertainment beat.

Look for this product at:
Pelican Publishing Company

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