White Bird by R. J. Palacio


I've been sitting here trying to decide how to start this post, but have been at a loss for words. This book is heartwrenchingly beautiful. I picked it out at the library for my daughter to read when I noticed who the author was because we adored Wonder.

White Bird give us a glimpse into the family history of Julian, who was Augie's bully in Wonder. He has to conduct an interview for a school assignment and decides to interview his grandmother, Sara, a Holocaust survivor.

Sara was a teenager when Nazi Germany occupied her hometown in the Free Zone in France. Nazis showed up at her school to round up the Jewish students and she successfully hid away until a classmate finds her and helps her escape. He takes her to a barn where he and his parents hide her and take care of her.

This graphic novel is definitely for middle-grade to young adult readers who have studied the Holocaust a bit. R. J. Palacio does not shy away from writing and depicting the violence that people witnessed and endured. The book is raw in parts, and hopeful in others. It is a beautiful story about an extremely shameful and horrific time in our world's history. It has lessons of courage, love, and doing the right thing. 

My daughter loved it, and I'm so glad I read it, too, as I believe it is important to talk about these topics with our children to help them process history and how we can move forward to make the world a better place. The book as been made into a film and we look forward to watching it together.

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