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Black Radishes by Susan Lynn Meyer

Black Radishes (edition 2010)

by Susan Lynn Meyer

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13610139,723 (3.83)2
Gustave, having been forced to move from Paris to the countryside after his parents decided it was not safe for Jews to live in the city during World War II, meets a Catholic girl named Nicole, whose family is part of the French Resistance, and together they devise a plan to rescue his friend and family members from the Nazi occupied territory.… (more)
Title:Black Radishes
Authors:Susan Lynn Meyer
Info:Delacorte Books for Young Readers (2010), Hardcover, 240 pages
Collections:Children's Preview Center
Tags:War Stories

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Black Radishes by Susan Lynn Meyer



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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
This is not one of my favorite children's holocaust books, but it's the first I've read that describes the holocaust in France. As the German threat increases in 1940, many French Jews flee Paris for the countryside. Gustav and his family move to St. Georges, a small town south of Paris. Once Germany invades, France is divided in half by a demarcation line, identifying the occupied and unoccupied zones. St. Georges luckily is in the unoccupied zone, but food is scarce. Gustav's father must travel to the occupied zone for food and risk getting caught. Through it all, they wait for the American government to grant them permission to relocate to America.

I love books about the holocaust, but this one was a little slow for me. I feel like details and dialogue were missing which kept me from getting the emotional connection I usually do. ( )
  valorrmac | Sep 21, 2018 |
Summary: Gustave was told one day that he and his parents were moving to a small town away from Paris just in case the Nazi’s were to invade and take over Paris. Gustave, leaving his friends and cousin Jean-Paul, sadly packed up and left for an unknown town. While in the small town, Gustave is quite unhappy. He starts his new life in the summertime and cannot find any friends, but school starts and he meets a girl named Nicole. Nicole and Gustave become close friends. France is invaded and Paris becomes occupied; leaving the small town Gustave’s family fled to only a few short miles away from the occupied area. The Germans came in full force and Gustave and his family became quite worried about Jean-Paul and his mother Geraldine. Secretly, Nicole learned of Gustave’s situation and how he was in hiding from the Nazi’s and how he had family in France and wanted to help. Nicole introduces her father to Gustave’s father and they pieced together a plan to find their family in France. The plan worked and the families were reunited! Nicole stuck her and her father’s neck on the line for a Jewish family in need and it ended happily.

Review: Meyer writes an interesting story about German occupation in France and creates a deep central message about how it does not matter race or religion, if someone is in need we should help them. Gustave's family were runaway Jews from Paris looking for a better life as "non-Jews" in a different part of France. Nicole, Gustave's first friend, is able to show the mature reader that if all people need help at times and if at some point you need help, you should look around the table and see who you have helped first. The friendship between Nicole and Gustave is interesting and it is really through their friendship that the reader can truly feel the message of helpfulness. These two young people have faced against odds to be friends, even though Gustave never actually told Nicole he was Jewish, and were determined to do so through the ugly war. If anybody ever found out about a girl helping Jews it would have been the end for Nicole and she knew that, but that did not stop her. ( )
  Kweber8 | Oct 15, 2014 |
Gustave and his family leave Paris for the French countryside just before the Nazi's invade France. They end up renting part of a house in the unoccupied zone. As conditions worsen and the treatment of Jews gets worse, Gustave and his family want to get their relatives out of Paris. Befriended by a free spirited classmate whose family is part of the resistance, Gustave finds himself helping in the effort. While I enjoyed the book much more than I thought, this quick read takes a while for the action to heat up. It did give me some historical context for a part of the World War II story which I was previously unfamiliar. ( )
  ewyatt | Dec 18, 2012 |
Gustave and his family are forced to leave their home as the Nazis draw ever closer to their hometown in Paris, France. Just before their house and business would have been destroyed, by both propaganda and bombs, Gustave and his mother change house to a small country town - his father not too far behind. As the line between Nazi-occupied France and free France is drawn, they are just miles into the free side. Unfortunately, most of their family and friends are on the occupied side and Gustave and his family must place their trust and smarts carefully to make sure those they love are safe.

This was not my favorite Nazi-occupation book, but it told a story of great courage and cleverness. I read it not long after an adult book on the same topic, and it was interesting to see the differences between children's perceptions and adults perceptions during this time period. This book would provide great discussion fodder for classrooms learning about prejudice or WWII. ( )
  agrudzien | Aug 25, 2012 |
I loved this different perspective of World War II in France. Based on a true story, Gustave is a young boy who makes it across the river to the unoccupied zone just before the Nazi's claim half of France. Living in a small, Catholic village his must hide his true Jewish identity while worrying about his friends that are still in Paris. ( )
  smheatherly2 | Jul 23, 2012 |
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