This real-life story of the author’s mother-in-law recounts the experiences of a young Jewish girl who must hide deep in the French countryside during World War II. Natalie stows herself under the floorboards of a barn and emerges when she thinks no Germans are in the vicinity. She does encounter fearsome Nazi soldiers on occasion, and she must rely on her quick thinking and the kindness of others to conceal her true identity and avoid capture. She risks taking a wounded pig to the vet, interacts with a group of American soldiers who give her chocolate, and has some frightening close calls. But she manages to hide until the end of the war.
An afterword teaches readers more about the Holocaust and explains that, although her mother did not survive, Natalie was eventually reunited with her father. Simple line drawings and illustrations with soft color bring Natalie to life. A map helps clarify the setting of this well-told story.
Michal Hoschander Malen is the editor of Jewish Book Council’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A former librarian, she has lectured on topics relating to literacy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.