If you liked Wonder and Auggie and Me by R.J. Palacio, you might enjoy reading White Bird, a graphic novel based on World War II. This book is so important to have in your bookshelf because it reminds people to always choose to be kind.
This book is actually based on the bully from Wonder. If you’ve read it, you know about some of the mean and rude things Julian did and said to Auggie, a boy with a craniofacial difference. If you’ve also read The Julian Chapter, you might remember Julian’s grandmere, Sara, and the story she told to him.
Julian’s grandmere is back inside this heart-warming, life-reflecting graphic novel about the fight for equality and having hope.
White Bird starts with a FaceTime call from Julian, who needs to learn more about his Grandmere’s past in World War II for his humanities project. Sara tells him about how she was a young girl in France, trying to live a fairytale life, telling him about her two parents that spoiled her, how her dad would throw her into the air and say she was as free as a bird.
But soon it becomes clear some people don’t think people like her – Jews – should be free or even be alive. One day at school, people come to collect the Jewish children so that they can run from the Nazis, who are going to take them. Sara doesn’t go with them. Instead, she hides, but when her classmate with a disability, Julien Beaumier, finds her, he helps her hide in his family’s barn and wait out the war. A hodgepodge of things happen after, but really – Sara soon learns that “it takes courage to be kind, but those days, kindness could cost you everything.”
I liked this book because it was an easy and interesting read, but also because it told such a beautiful story, one that people can learn from today. I loved the illustrations that R.J. Palacio drew herself, too! What I love about graphic novels is that the pictures can tell their own story – and they did. I also loved the illusion of a white bird to represent hope and freedom. **(SPOILER ALERT)** The bird also shows Sara visions throughout the book, like when her mother gets sent to an internment camp, and when Julien dies. She would have never been able to know those things without the white bird, which I thought was interesting but very sad.
This book is for anyone who has read Wonder or Auggie and Me, because it will help you understand things a little better, like why Julian is so touched by the story. I also recommend this book for anyone who is just learning about World War II and Hitler. This is no history book, but kids will truly learn about antisemitism and how its hatred spread and caused many people harm.
This book is full of sorrow and tears, but it’s story everyone needs to read. I rate it four out of four roses!