Sunday, January 9, 2011
Resistance Book 1 by Carla Jablonski and Leland Purvis
Resistance Book 1 is the first of a trilogy of graphic books for children set in France during the Nazi occupation. It centres around Paul and Marie Tessier, young siblings whose father is being held as a prisoner of war by the German army. When their Jewish friend Henri's parents are taken by the Nazis while he happens to be away from home, they conspire to hide him in the wine cellars of their family's vineyards. When Paul discovers that their farmhand Jacques is a member of a resistance group, he begs to join, and the group decides that Paul and Marie's youth might be an asset. The two children and their older sister end up taking a terrifying journey to Paris to reunite Henri with his rescued parents.
Resistance is a thoughtful book that reads fluidly and is full of telling detail. From the paranoid secrecy of the time to the squabbles brought on by fear and tension, it's all very believable. Paul is an artist, and his sketchbook gives us additional insight into his feelings as the story progresses. The author's note at the end reminds us not to make hasty judgments.
" Living in a country that has never been occupied...it is hard to imagine the pressures people faced. These pressures were both external (physical threats, lack of food, disappearing neighbours) and internal (fear, family loyalty, national pride, belief systems) and they influenced the choices people made. What seems obvious to us now was probably not at all obvious to anyone then...Each French citizen...had their own story, their own personal concerns to weigh, risks to assess with no idea of how things would turn out, or even what the next day would bring. Sometimes [their] choices were regrettable, sometimes noble. All were difficult."
Defiance, the second book in the Resistance trilogy, is coming out July 2011.