Irene Watts has taken excerpts from her 2000 book Remember Me to recreate the story of Marianne, a young girl escaping from the Nazis via the Kindertransport, a program organized to bring children out of Germany to new homes in England. While the story line is familiar, the format is now in graphic novel style. The sketches are done in muted blacks, grays, and whites, capturing the sadness of being alone in a new country.
Marianne arrives in London and watches as every child she traveled with is paired with a new family. The last to leave, Marianne eventually finds a safe place to live, albeit not a very happy one. She misses everything about her old life, especially her mother. The new lady doesn’t seem to like Marianne and finds fault with everything the child does. When the threat of invasion reaches England and all the children are evacuated to the countryside, Marianne is not sad to leave London behind her.
Shuttled from one place to another, Marianne is finally taken in by a woman who calls herself Auntie Vi. But this new home also has its drawbacks: Auntie Vi wants Marianne to take the place of her recently-deceased daughter, Elizabeth — literally. Things turn creepy, and Marianne hopes her mother will come to England soon and rescue her.
This graphic novel is beautifully executed. While the book touches on the Holocaust, it ends on a hopeful note. Recommended for readers ages 9 to 12.
Marcia Berneger is a retired teacher who lives with her husband and three crazy dogs. She taught both first and second grade, as well as special education. She currently teaches Torah school, in addition to her volunteer work in classrooms, libraries, and with various fundraisers. She lives in San Diego.