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.
Based on the author’s mother’s own experiences as a hidden child in France during World War II, Catherine’s War is one of the most accessible historical graphic novels featuring a powerful girl since Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi—perfect for fans of Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, Anne Frank, or Helen Keller.
Includes a map and photographs of the real Catherine and her wartime experiences, as well as an interview with author Julia Billet.
Catherine's interest in photography helps to give more dimension to her character; it's hard for my students to grasp that the vast majority of the people displaced by the Holocaust came from comfortable, middle class backgrounds similar to their own. The drawings depict many of the photographs taken, some replicas of actual photographs taken by the author's mother.
The drawings are very lovely, and the brown and gray color palette, with touches of green and pink, seem very appropriate to the time period. Historical graphic novels are helpful because they show so many details about life at the time-- clothing, buildings, cars, etc.
I would have liked to have seen Catherine's life before the Sèvres Children's Home, but this is a nice overview of what happened to the character during the majority of the war, as well as what happened afterwards.
This is a somewhat longer graphic novel than books like Holm's Sunny Side Up, and the print is somewhat smaller, but this makes it a great selection for readers who want more details about this historical period and who have enjoyed Jablonski's Resistance or Robbins' Lily Renée, Escape Artist.