CBR15Passport other format (memoir as fiction)
Her name was Jacqueline Gauthier (among others) she had many secrets (one had to do with a toy duck), and she would help save people’s lives. Gauthier was really Judith Geller, a Jewish teen who pretended to be a Christian social worker. She would deliver papers to other Jewish families to help them be safer in France, or even help them escape the country all together. She was part of the French Resistance, she would lose dozens of her family to the war, and later would let her children play with the little yellow toy duck. The importance of the duck was Geller was able to hide the papers for the families inside of it. The Resistance would use all types of everyday things to help hide important documents.
The life of Geller is told in the picture book, Hidden Hope: How a Toy and a Hero Saved Lives During the Holocaust. However, Elisa Boxer did not have much to go on, but was able to piece it together as best they could. The artwork of Amy June Bates is dark, with browns, blacks, grays, and other deeper colors telling the story. Of course, the yellow of the duck stands out. The illustrations are busy, but not overwhelming. They set the stage of the story itself.
This book is not for younger children, or sensitive ones. There are scenes where Geller is almost captured by the Nazis, and due to the images, things are emotionally dark as well as being physically dark. Overall, this is a good fictionalized biography for children interested in women’s history, or perhaps had family who survived. And it would be good for classroom use as the extras give a deeper look at the history of the time. Due mid-March 2023.