ARC (Advance Reading Copy). Published February 26, 2013. Bloomsbury Children’s Books. 216 pp. (Includes a Timeline, period photographs and an Author’s Note.)
Born in 1934, Odette was just a young child when Hitler came to power and invaded Paris where she lived with her Jewish mother and father. When she was just 5 years old, her father left to join the French army but Germany soon began their occupation of France. With the Nazis in power, Jews were forbidden to do many of the things Odette had taken for granted. When thousands of Jews were rounded up and deported to death camps, Odette’s mother sent her to the country to live with a Christian family. There, Odette learned to reinvent herself and live a life of secrecy so no one would find out she was really Jewish.
“Odette’s Secrets” is based on the story of of Odette Meyers and her struggles to survive during Hitler’s reign of terror. Unlike Anne Frank, she survived the war yet their lives recount a similar story.
Odette’s childhood lived on through her writings, rediscovered by Macdonald, and is told in touching, poetic prose. Students aged 10-14 will gain insight into the stormy lives faced by young Jewish children attempting to live normal lives in wartorn France, and the bravery of those willing to risk everything to hide them.