Review: Run and Hide: How Jewish Youth Escaped the Holocaust

Run and Hide: How Jewish Youth Escaped the Holocaust

written and illustrated by Don Brown

Clarion Books (imprint of HarperCollins), 2023

Category: Middle Grade
Reviewer: Judy Ehrenstein

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Employing his signature angular, thin-line style and a subdued palette of grays and browns with effective pops of red, orange, and yellow, Don Brown presents the rise of the Nazis and the devastation they brought to the world, succinctly and powerfully. Beginning with the end of WWI and the economic woes of post-war Germany, he traces Hitler’s rise to power with a rhetoric of blame that is eagerly accepted by Germans. Moving through restrictions on Jewish life and employment, Kristallnacht, and roundups of adults, Brown keeps his focus on the lives of children: those sent on Kindertransports; those who were hidden; and those who survived by their own wits. While concentration camps are mentioned, this is not a book about those children sent to the camps. The work of resistance groups, both Jewish and non-Jewish, is clearly addressed, a fact that is often glossed over in many books for children on this topic.

As a non-fiction graphic novel, this one succeeds through carefully chosen text and the images portrayed. Direct quotes are in speech bubbles while the text appears in blocks throughout. Back matter contains sources for the quotes, an extensive bibliography, and an afterword entitled “Uninterrupted” which draws attention to the long list of post-1945 wars, instances of hate and violence, including all that is here in the United States, where Jews are only 2% of the population but victims of 60% of religious hate crimes. “Heartbreak, grief, and hopelessness are immeasurable, beyond statisticians’ percentiles, totals, graphs, and pie charts, but they can offer a glimpse into the epic price of hate and violence” (p. 179), concluding that it will take until 2050 for the Jewish population of the world to reach the levels of pre-World War II, more than 100 years after the end of the war.

This book will serve to teach today’s youth, Jewish and not, about past hate and its lasting repercussions. There are many parallels to today to be seen. It is a testament to resilience to highlight youth who survived something unimaginable by most readers. It should be considered for the Sydney Taylor Book Award.

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Reviewer Judy Ehrenstein is a Children’s Librarian with Montgomery County Public Libraries, Bethesda, MD, and a member of the 2020-2022 Sydney Taylor Book Award committee (AJL) and the 2023 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award committee (ALA/ALSC). She's also Co-editor of children and young adult book reviews for AJL News and Reviews.