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The Search

Review

The Search

As a child, Esther Hecht was forced out of her native Germany and into the relative safety of the Netherlands. But that safety too was short-lived. When the Nazis came invading, Esther went into a life of hiding in the countryside, separated from the parents she would never see again.

With the passing of the years, Esther came to safety, but she has an amazing story to share. Now reunited with her old best friend, Helena (the protagonist of Eric Heuvel's first book in the series, A Family Secret), Esther is now able to explain to family and friends alike what happened to her all those decades ago. There is joy mixed in with the pain, hope alongside the outrage, and there is very little sugarcoating. What's done is done, as they say, and it's certainly not hidden here. Nor is it overly sentimentalized. Heuvel has such a straightforward style that he gives gravitas to the situation without diminishing it with false sweetness.

Both of Heuvel's books are excellent resources for teaching about the wrenching personal devastation brought upon those who lived through World War II. The Search is the perfect companion to A Family Secret, wrapping up events begun in the first book nicely. Both books stand alone as well, so either one could be used in a classroom setting. There is death present, though it isn't graphic. Still, for example, a man is shown being shot in the back while running from the Nazis, and other similar horrors are depicted, so very young readers might have some difficulty with the imagery. Older children who are ready to handle some small measure of the atrocity of the Holocaust will find both of these books to be very helpful learning tools.

Reviewed by John Hogan on October 13, 2009

The Search
by Eric Heuvel, Ruud van der Rol, and Lies Schippers

  • Publication Date: October 13, 2009
  • Genres: Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
  • ISBN-10: 0374464553
  • ISBN-13: 9780374464554