Thursday, June 10, 2010

Resistance, Book 1

This volume of Resistance is the first of a trilogy of graphic novels about children who get involved in the French Resistance in World War II. Paul and his sister Marie are helping their mother to run a hotel in Vichy France while his father is a prisoner of war of the Germans. Paul's best friend Henri is Jewish, and after his parents mysteriously disappear, the boys hatch a plan to hide Henri to protect him from the Germans. They soon figure out that their long-term prospects of success aren't good.

Paul likes to draw and Marie is very inquisitive and great at memorizing names, numbers, and other information. When they start prying into the actions of the adults around them, they stumble into Resistance activities. The children offer to assist in a plot to relay some information that will help those at the front while also shuttling Henri to safety. Because they are so young, they bank on the hope that the Germans will not suspect anything. However, once the children embark on their mission the reality and danger of the situation begin to set in.

The book has informative text pieces at the beginning and end that help to set the scene and also comment on the historical accuracy of the story. Author Carla Jablonski writes primarily young adult novels and her works have been recognized by the New York Public Library. Artist Leland Purvis is a former Xeric Award winner for his black and white anthology of stories Vóx. He also won the 2004 Ignatz Award for Promising New Talent.

The reviews for the book have been positive. Krisitian Williams said that seeing these events from children's perspectives was both "naive and refreshing." In a long, thoughtful review, Greg Burgas called it a "good book for kids but doesn't shy away from tough topics that makes it more adult-oriented." Kris Bather called it a "satisfying read," and the mother-daughter book club "highly recommend" it.

A number of resources, including a summary, preview, and reading group guide are available here from the publisher First Second.

Thank you to Gina Gagliano for the review copy!

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