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White Bird: A Wonder Story Hardcover – October 1, 2019
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Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner
Praise for White Bird:
"At once expressive and chaste, an elusive but ideal combination." —New York Times
"A story that shows the impact of the Second World War and the rise of fascism on what had been a pastoral, fairy-tale childhood, with White Bird pulling no punches in connecting that historical moment to what’s happening in the world today." —The Hollywood Reporter
“Extraordinarily powerful.... White Bird does not shrink from depicting the terror and violence of the Nazi occupation for younger readers, and respects the ability of those readers to handle strong material.” —Forbes
"A must-read graphic novel that is both heart-rending and beautifully hopeful." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"A story of resistance, bravery, and survival.... This compelling story is served well by the graphic novel format." —Booklist
“Sure to be popular among fans of Wonder and educators who want to connect past to present.” —School Library Journal
"R.J. Palacio brings to life the nature of heroism and the real risks we face today." —Meg Medina, Newbery award-winning author of Mercy Suarez Changes Gears
"Rare, superb, timely, and timeless." —Mark Siegel, author of the 5 Worlds graphic novel series
About the Author
- Publisher : Knopf Books for Young Readers; Illustrated edition (October 1, 2019)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 224 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0525645535
- ISBN-13 : 978-0525645535
- Reading age : 8 - 12 years
- Lexile measure : GN440L
- Grade level : 3 - 7
- Item Weight : 1.72 pounds
- Dimensions : 7.31 x 0.9 x 10.19 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #8,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
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By christinaboatwright on October 8, 2019
I received it yesterday, read it this morning and was disappointed, angry and annoyed. I felt compelled to write a review to hopefully influence others to think twice before purchasing it for a child or library.
I will start with something positive. If not for pages 197-204, this would be a great book for students ages 12 and up to learn about the horrors of the Holocaust.
My three issues with this book (in order of what made me most annoyed/angry):
1. Politics has NO PLACE in children’s books! When I got to pages 197-204, I was honestly shocked (a newspaper headline reads “Children Separated from Parents as Part of Trump’s Zero Tolerance Policy” and the grandmere in the story says “How can this be happening? Have we learned nothing?” I will preface what I’m about to write by saying I am a registered Democrat and not what I would call a Trump supporter (though I do agree with some of his policies). That being said, I was disgusted that Palacio would try to compare the Holocaust to ILLEGAL immigrants trying to get into our country. The innocent young girl Sara, in White Bird, is a LEGAL resident of her country and has done nothing wrong other than being the “wrong” religion. She is torn from her family, friends and school and forced to live in hiding in order to survive. America has welcomed BILLIONS of LEGAL immigrants from other countries who went through the proper channels to get here. I welcome them and so should everyone else. But border-jumping ILLEGAL immigrants who often put their children in harm’s way by giving them to strangers cannot and should not be compared to those who suffered at the hands of the Nazis. To make such a parallel is INSULTING, incorrect and an ignorant distortion of the truth.
2. Julian was a total JERK in Wonder (though he did redeem himself a bit in Auggie & Me when we learn that he is this way because of his parents). I find it hard to believe that a kid who was raised by someone whose own parent was a victim of the Holocaust, would be so cruel to others. Julian has heard his grandmere’s story before. He even carries the name of the character Julian in White Bird who was made fun of and ignored by his peers because of his polio. So why would his parents turn out the way they did and raise a mean kid? It just made no sense to me. It would have been better if this was Christopher or Charlotte’s grandmother.
3. Amazon says this book is for Grades 3-7 and ages 8-12. I disagree. For the age group of my students (8-10), I would not recommend this UNLESS it was read to students by the teacher with lots of discussion about the Holocaust and the horrible violence. Even if this was the case, I would not recommend it be read to students younger than 5th grade. There are several violent scenes with blood that are very sad. A person who helped the students escape to the woods is gunned down right near them and then others are threatened with violence. I know this was the reality but other books for this age have been successful at depicting the horrors without this graphic nature (Number the Stars, Hidden, etc.)
I was set to give this book 4 stars until I got to page 197. Perhaps Mrs. Palacio will think twice before inserting her political opinion into her future children’s books. This one will not be on the shelves in my library.
Unfortunately, the author decided to get political at the end of the book - I wish authors wouldn't do this! Especially in books intended for younger audiences. It soured the entire book for me. While I loved The Julian Chapter almost as much as Wonder, White Bird didn't live up to my expectations. Perhaps that's because I already knew how the story would go (though I've re-listened to Julian's book multiple times and enjoy it each time). Perhaps Wonder and The Julian Chapter (and even parts of Christopher and Charlotte's stories) have just set the bar too high. Perhaps it was the political elements at the end. Perhaps it was some combination of all these. I've been looking forward to this book ever since I heard about it a year ago, and I was disappointed.
Other reviewers also mentioned the binding. It's some strange mix of paperback and hardback (a paperback with some hard paper/cardboard glued to the front and back, but not the spine), and I agree - it probably won't hold up if a copy is reread multiple times (like in a school, where this book is likely headed).
To conclude, I love Sara and Julian/Tourteau's story (at least as told in the Julian Chapter); but I do not love this version of it.
I also just want to say that these reviews should be written for the content in the book. Please stop reviewing things like the binding!!!! Readers need to know whether or not the story is compelling and not whether the book is made of paper. Grrr. If you are upset about the quality of the binding or packaging or anything unrelated to the actual art, write the publisher or Amazon. Giving the book a rating based on paper quality doesn’t help reader consumers looking for an excellent book to read. And, it totally does a disservice to the author.
Grandmère shares her account as a young, Jewish girl who is hidden by a family during World War II in occupied France. Her experience and evolving friendship with Julian is revealed along with the unexpected lessons of being a bystander who doesn’t speak out when an injustice is witnessed.
This story is powerful and connects to the current injustices happening now. You’ll want to order this book which comes out in October 2019
Top reviews from other countries
An important part of history not to be forgotten.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 27, 2020