Catherine’s War

By: Julia Billet

Illustrator: Claire Fauvel

At the Sèvres Children’s Home outside Paris, Rachel Cohen has discovered her passion—photography. Although she hasn’t heard from her parents in months, she loves the people at her school, adores capturing what she sees in pictures, and tries not to worry too much about Hitler’s war. But as France buckles under the Nazi Regime, danger closes in, and Rachel must change her name and go into hiding.

As Catherine Colin, Rachel Cohen is faced with leaving the Sèvres Home—and the friends she made there—behind. But with her beautiful camera, Catherine possesses an object with the power to remember. For the rest of the war, Catherine bears witness to her own journey, and to the countless heroes whose courage and generosity saved the lives of many, including her own.

Map of Catherine’s journey. Photographs from the Sèvres Children’s Home. Author’s note. “Questions from Readers.” Full-color illustrations.

ISBN: 9780062915603

JLG Release: Apr 2020


Sensitive Areas: Violence: War/Harsh Realities of War, Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes, Language: Infrequent Use, Language: Infrequent Use
Topics: World War II (1939–1945) , Refugees , Jewish Holocaust (1939–1945) , Friendship , Love , Photography

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist*, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal*, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

School Library Journal

Billet has crafted a pictorial paean to the everyday heroes of Vichy France, as seen through the eyes—and camera lens—of a Jewish teen. Rachel Cohen’s story begins in 1942 at the Sèvres Children’s Home outside Paris, where students separated from their parents direct their own education. As Nazi deportations increase, the school’s Jewish Billet has crafted a pictorial paean to the everyday heroes of Vichy France, as seen through the eyes—and camera lens—of a Jewish teen. Rachel Cohen’s story begins in 1942 at the Sèvres Children’s Home outside Paris, where students separated from their parents direct their own education. As Nazi deportations increase, the school’s Jewish residents must flee. Rachel assumes a new identity—Catherine Colin—and hides in plain sight. Aided by those she meets on her journey, “Catherine” travels from Sèvres to a monastery in Riom, a family farm in Limoges, an orphanage in the Pyrenees, and a second small farm before finally returning to a liberated Paris in the hope of reuniting with her parents. Along the way, her beloved Rolleiflex camera documents her story one snapshot at a time. Adapted from a novel based on Billet’s mother’s wartime experiences, this tale vividly renders a period that might seem removed to younger readers. Almost every panel—especially those inspired by real photographs—could stand alone as a work of art. From the subtle motion lines and detailed facial expressions to intricately composed scenes and dramatic backdrops, Fauvel’s ink and watercolor illustrations are masterly. This brief book will leave readers wishing they could spend more time among the torrent of settings and characters. A remarkable tribute to the generosity, compassion, and courage of ordinary people who endanger themselves to do right, as well as those who capture glimpses of light in the darkness.

Book Details

ISBN

9780062915603

First Release

April 2020

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

F

Trim Size

9" x 6"

Page Count

176

Accelerated Reader

Level 3.7; Points: 1;

Scholastic Reading Counts

N/A

Lexile

N/A

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Harper

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Violence: War/Harsh Realities of War, Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes, Language: Infrequent Use, Language: Infrequent Use

Topics

World War II (1939–1945), Refugees, Jewish Holocaust (1939–1945), Friendship, Love, Photography,

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