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Willy and Max: A Holocaust Story by Amy…
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Willy and Max: A Holocaust Story

by Amy Littlesugar

Other authors: William Low (Illustrator)

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This is a unique holocaust story with two families, one Jewish and one gentile. While it is the story of friendships and connections lost over the course of the war it is also a historical story about the preservation of art. Max and Willy form a close friendship, but they also watch their home irrevocably change before their eyes when the Nazi's invade. The book jumps from the round-up of the Jews to present day, leaving much in between unexplained. I enjoyed this technique. So much is lost and will remain unexplained so if you sit back and consider the absence of any information it is a good approach to make the reader reflect on what's been lost. ( )
  fsgiamba | May 5, 2019 |
This is such a moving story of the power of friendship. Willy and Max live in Belgium, and Europe is on the brink of World War II. After Max’s father buys a painting from Willy’s father, the two boys become inseparable friends. All of that begins to change when Nazis invade and force Max and his Jewish family to give up everything they have, except the painting that sparked their friendship. Although Willy’s father hid it for them, it was eventually lost. Years pass, and when it is found, the painting still remains a symbol of their friendship from long ago.
This was such a touching and poignant story. When I heard this book, I surely thought it was based on a true story. Although it is fiction, the author creates such a rich, emotional story that is beautiful and realistic. ( )
  MegWilliams | May 1, 2019 |
Willy and Max is the touching story of a friendship between two boys who are torn apart by the holocaust. They meet when Max's father buys a beautiful painting from Willy's father's antique store and quickly become inseparable. But Max's family is Jewish so when the Nazis come he and his father are forced to flee, leaving the painting with Willy's family's for safe keeping. However, no one is safe from the Nazi's plundering and the painting is eventually lost. Many years later when the painting is found and returned to Willy's family, he knows he needs to find Max's family and reunite them with the painting.

The story is fictional, but very realistic and emotional, reminding us that we all must be vigilant to prevent history from ever repeating itself. ( )
  adrouet | Apr 30, 2019 |
This fictional story about the Holocaust is beautiful, moving, and emotional. Willy and Max become fast friends, bonding over a painting called "The Lady." Despite being best friends, the boys are different in the way that Max is Jewish and Willy is not. The illustrations in this story are really what make it so engaging, each page is painted differently and tells its own story. The thing I liked most about this story is that while it was about the Holocaust, it did not focus solely on that and it was not a negative story with a heartbreaking ending. The theme of friendship is what this story truly focuses on. ( )
  tejennin | Apr 28, 2019 |
Amy Littlesugar's historical fiction 'Willy & Max: A Holocaust Story" is poignant as well as educational. The story begins in Belgium on the precipice of World War II and surrounds to young boys who become fast friends. Max is Jewish, Willy is not and trouble is just around the corner.
One of the reasons this story is so brilliant is that the author tells an important narrative but doesn't end up in the usual place: a concentration camp. World War II was so multifaceted and Hitler's hatred covered so much ground that sometimes looking beyond the death camps is a welcome change.
This story revolves around a fictional piece of art called "The Lady" and is what ultimately binds these two boys, and their families, together. The books' illustrations are stunning and captivating, furthermore, the story is told with realistic themes and dialogue. I must confess to tearing up on more than one occasion while reading the text.
I strongly recommend this book for any school lesson surrounding World War II and in particular discussing Hitler's pillaging of thousands of pieces of artwork around Europe. Due to some of the harsh dialogue from the Nazi soldiers, I would recommend that educators read this carefully before deciding to present it to children younger than fourth or fifth grade. ( )
  JSkoros | Apr 15, 2019 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Amy Littlesugarprimary authorall editionscalculated
Low, WilliamIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399234837, Hardcover)

When Max’s dad buys a painting from the window of Willy’s dad’s antique shop, Willy and Max become instant friends.They are just alike, down to their same missing tooth! Even though Max lives in the Jewish quarter, the boys are inseparable—until the Nazis come. They take everything from Max’s family, including the precious painting that began the boys’ friendship.And though they promise to be friends forever,Willy and Max know that something unspeakable is coming between them, and they may never see each other again . . . .

Beautiful and heartbreaking, Willy & Max is the powerful story of two boys separated by circumstance, but held together through generations by a simple painting—and the unbreakable spirit of their friendship.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:01 -0400)

In Belgium during World War II, Willy becomes friends with Max and his Jewish family, and although they become separated, they remain related by a bond of friendship and a special painting.

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