Silence can be powerful. Kathy Kacer’s second book in her middle grade series about heroic rescues during WWII tells the tale of siblings Helen and Henry, and history’s most famous mime. Desperate to save them from the Nazis, Henry and Helen’s mother makes the harrowing decision to take her children from their home in 1940s Germany and leave them in the care of strangers in France. The brother and sister must hide their Jewish identity to pass for orphans being fostered at a convent in the foreign land. Visits from a local mime become the children’s one source of joy, especially for Henry, whose traumatic experience has left him a selective mute. When an informer gives them up, the children are forced to flee yet again from the Nazis, but this time the local mime–a not yet famous Marcel Marceau–risks everything to try to save the children. Masters of Silence shows award-winning author Kathy Kacer at the top of her craft, bringing to light the little-known story of Marceau’s heroic work for the French Resistance. Marceau would go on to save hundreds of children from Nazi concentration camps and death during WWII. In characteristic Kacer style, Masters of Silence is dramatic and engaging, and highlights the courage of both those rescuing and the rescued themselves. Wenting Li’s chapter heading illustrations and evocative covers provide the perfect visuals for the series.
approx. 271 pages
Out March 12, 2019
NOTE: My arc has a different cover. I like this one better.
I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
This is a middle-grade historical fiction novel. Kathy Kacer is the award-winning author of more than 20 children’s books inspired by real events. She lives in Toronto, Canada.
The subject of WWII and the plight of the Jews must be told over and over again. It’s message cannot die down and be forgotten. The suffering during the Holocaust for Jewish adults and their children is a heart-wrenching time in our human history. The atrocities committed against them must never be forgotten out of fear of history repeating itself.
The story is about a family whose father has already been seized by the Nazis and a mother being helped and hidden by a Catholic family who are unable to help the children.
POV shifts between each children, Henry and Helen, who are hidden in a French convent and are safe for a time enjoying the visits of Marcel Marceaux, France’s famous mime turned hero because of his being ecretly part of the French Resistance. When the children’s true identity is given up, Marceaux helps to get the children to Switzerland before they are captured.
The story pushes forward at an excellent pace. Each child’s character is developed perfectly and gives a very realistic appearance to their personalities. Their interactions with Marceaux are well-imagined.
I think because of content this book would be appropriate for children ages eight to thirteen, no younger. I also think this book should be included in every school library. It’s sad to read but still it should be read and discussed. It’s full of strength and hope when darkness was all consuming.
I gave it: